2 minutes reading time (313 words)

Alone - or not?

The first verse from yesterday's Old Testament reading for Morning Prayer (from Lamentations):

How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!

One of the strangest things about this strange time has been the stream of images we've all seen of deserted towns and cities. Lonely streets - no people, no cars, no business. Almost everyone has retreated to their separate spaces, and physical proximity has been replaced by virtual contact, through emails, phone calls and social media. And many of us are more alone than ever.

Of course, for out-and-out introverts this enforced isolation may be a blessing. But for others, aloneness is a hard cross to bear. I use that last phrase advisedly, for one of many harsh things Jesus had to endure in his last days was the sheer aloneness of his predicament. Alone in Gethsemane, as his friends fall asleep; alone at his trial, his followers having fled; alone on the cross - his only company the onlookers' jeers and the sadness of those who love him. As he dies, Jesus enters into the final, fearful reality of aloneness: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

But in truth, not the final reality. Every time we face the pain of being alone, and so connect ourselves with Jesus' painful aloneness on the cross, we are invited to remember how his story ends, and how ours will too. No longer alone but joyfully together, within God's love for the whole creation - this is our final reality, this is the promise that we glimpse right now, in the kindness of friends and the beauty of spring. And, please God, this being-together will be a reality for us, in church and in our streets, before long...

In those telling words, used by the Queen in her address to the nation: "We will meet again". Amen to that. 

Faced with ourselves
Humble like God

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