I read an interesting article recently about the decline of Saudi Arabia and the rise of Israel as a geopolitical partner of the UAE and Bahrain. This is no surprise to me as someone who lived in Jerusalem for seven years.
The plight of the Palestinians, although the “poster boy” of the Arab nations, will inevitably be eclipsed by the fear those nations have of Iran, an emerging nuclear nation. As is the case in human personal relations so too nations place priority on “what’s in it for me”. Geopolitical and economic power get first place.
Self interest can both distort and blunt righteous behaviour. We need continually to be taking stock of our motivations.
History has shown us that short term crises eventually run up against long term habits and values. A case in point is the increasingly cavalier approach on the part of many to the ever surging Covid 19 pandemic. Social needs are trumping social distancing. People need each other.
Just a day or so ago my wife and I passed a huge lineup of a certain make of sports cars parked on the side of a secondary road. Their owners were gathered at a roadside house for a car rally. No masks, no “distancing”, just a lot of happy drivers comparing notes with hamburgers and hotdogs in hand. This was one of a myriad of parties being held over Labour Day throughout North America.
You can call it “laissez faire” or fatalism, but the fact is that pandemic fatigue is producing carelessness.
We need not become “Henny Penny”( “the sky is falling!”) but we do need to remind ourselves that we have a responsibility to love our neighbours by protecting them with our masks and distance. The pandemic will one day be behind us. Until then we must retain our social discipline.
Our government this week warned we may be living with physical distancing and face masks for another two years. The recent surge of Covid infections in countries who thought they had “flattened the curve” has precipitated a major rethink. We are on a precipice.
It’s comforting to remember that “this is our Father’s world”. He is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. Nothing surprises him. He has factored Covid into his sovereign design. We will be delivered of it in his time.
This doesn’t mitigate the suffering but it does give hope. We continue to pray “thy will be done” even as we implore him to deliver us from the evil of the virus. In the meantime Covid forces a re-evaluation of values even as it catalyzes a renewal of spirit.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
During this protracted Covid isolation I’ve been “redeeming the time”. Social media has been very useful in keeping in touch with our WOW partners overseas, and writing a couple of books has filled the gaps. Keep a lookout for “Cantelon’s Casual Commentary” (Matthew, Mark, Luke/Acts, John) in a single volume, and “Opening the Windows of Your Soul”(a book on the Lord’s Prayer) to be published in the next year.
We’ve all been forced to take stock of our values, loves, and personal significance over these sheltering in place months. We don’t know when it will end. If you’re like me you’re becoming tired of the limbo but (hopefully) grateful for the reboot of our internal software.
History will one day look back at a period of both introspection and unexpected renewal and reinvention. But for us in the present we’ve got to endure the pain and nourish our hope.