Thought for The Week - Defining Moments
Words by Bev Jones
Watching Saturday Kitchen on television a couple of weekends ago, I listened with interest to Martin Kemp who was Saturday’s guest. He was asked about the time that he performed as part of Spandau Ballet for Live Aid in July 1985. As many of us remember, that initial concert was organised by (now Sir) Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in response to the Ethiopian famine. Almost 40% of the world’s population at the time watched the live broadcast, streamed simultaneously from Wembley Stadium and JFK stadium in Philadelphia.
Martin Kemp was asked whether he knew at the time that he was taking part in something significant, to which he replied yes - he knew that it was history in the making. He recognised that it wasn’t something that retrospectively he would realise had been momentous - that he was well aware that it was a defining moment and knew that things would be different as a result. The difference he said was that it changed the face of charity - which of course, for those of us who remember it happening - would absolutely agree with.
I think there are probably very few events in most peoples’ lives that we realise at the time are going to be historically significant for a large number of people, and will change the way things are done from thereon in. 9/11 probably falls into that category. So also does our present situation.
Whatever else may or may not have happened over the last few months, one thing is certain. Normal life has been disrupted. Our normal rhythms and routines have been interrupted and life has taken a new and different course. For some this will have had a devastating impact, for others it will have been less traumatic but for all of us it has meant adapting to a new normal. Embracing change. Living life to a different beat. And we are all very much aware that history is in the making as we either welcome or avoid the new opportunities, new experiences and new learning that comes as a result of this situation.
Photo by chuttersnap via Unsplash
What impact though does this have on our faith, or even what impact does our faith have on the circumstances that we find ourselves in?
Alan Scott says that, ‘the story we live in is the story we live out’, which makes me think about the story that we are living in currently. If we live in the story of the pandemic, do we choose to live in the shadows of death, destruction and loss, or despite the circumstances that we’re living through, do we live in the story of salvation – the story of the Gospel? The story of unconditional love, unlimited grace and abounding mercy. If that’s the story that we live in, then the story that we live out through these difficult times will be one of hope, light and love. And if enough people live that story out, then living through such a defining moment in the world’s history should have the ability to change and transform not only us, but those around us as we share the story that has the ability to change the world.
Photo by Daniel McCullough via Unsplash
Lectio 365 a couple of months ago reminded us of this:
‘Through the life of Jesus, God had been present in one place for a handful of people for a short period of time. But now, through Jesus’ Ascension and through the subsequent sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God became present in all places, for all people, for all time.’
That was and still is, history in the making, and we are part of the ongoing story.
‘He who carries God in his heart bears heaven with him wherever he goes.’
St Ignatius of Loyola