Spiritual Matters – by Rev Chris Sparks
A Pandemic of a Different Kind
Trust appears to be one of the first casualties of the Covid pandemic. And that’s ironic since trust is one of the first things we learn in life.
A newborn baby’s first instinct is to trust its mum for the support needed to sustain its tiny life. So, it latches onto the mother’s breast, unwilling to question whether the nutrition it seeks has been pasteurised, homogenised, sterilised and certified by an appropriate licensing authority as fit for human consumption through a prolonged testing programme on animals and other humans!
But now, having grown up, that same baby may now try to justify throwing away it’s legacy of trust and view its peers – other grown-up babies – with a degree of distrust that defies common-sense.
We’re now witnessing a level of distrust in society that appears to have reached its own pandemic proportions. This, in itself, could be construed as a threat to the survival of the human race!
Perhaps there’s a simple way to understand the necessity of trust in responsible society.
Imagine you’re trekking alone through a desert and have run out of water. It’s a life-threatening situation. You’ve underestimated how much water you needed for the journey. Now you’re very very thirsty and very very scared.
Suddenly, a miracle happens. You stumble upon an old water pump. It’s one of those old-fashioned things that rely on man-power to operate. But the pump needs to be primed in order to work. You’re excited to have discovered a source of precious, life-giving water, and gratefully rush to the pump. You now notice a sign attached to the large handle. The sign reads: “I’ve buried a bottle of water here to prime the pump. Don’t drink any of it. Use half of it to wet and soften the leather seal. Wait a minute or two, then pour the rest of the water into the hole in the top. Now pump the handle. Be assured the well has never run dry – but the pump must be primed – or it won’t work. Have faith. Believe.
When you’ve finished drawing water, fill the bottle and bury it again in the sand – for the next traveller.”
Now, with your mouth parched and your tongue clinging to the roof of your mouth, what would you do? Would you retrieve the water bottle from the sand and desperately suck its contents dry? Or would you trust the instructions you’d been given and pour the entire contents of that bottle into the pump?
When we trust, we take a risk – both for ourselves and for others passing that way. And that’s the bottom-line of the “vaccinate-or-not” question. Is it really all about me – my rights – my distrust of others – the luxury of making a personal choice without thought of my responsibility to care for others?
The most fundamental building block of our humanity is free-will – imparted by a God who’s will and desire is to offer unconditional love – and longs for that love to be returned in kind – value-added by its extension to other, equally loved human beings.
So I’m struggling big-time with understanding how any Christian – how any person – can be so consumed by an irrational distrust of a life-saving measure that promises so much, that they are consciously willing to ignore the big picture and endanger their own lives, and the lives of countless others whom God has insisted we love!