Dear Friends,

Lockdown (3) – How is it for you? There is more to life than Covid. It is easy to allow the pandemic to overwhelm everything else that is happening; locally, nationally, even globally. E.g, BREXIT, whatever our view of it, barely registered. If it wasn’t for stories concerning Romanian truck drivers stuck in Kent trying to get home for Christmas, we may not even have realised it had actually happened. But there is a ‘world’ beyond that particular ‘front door’ and so, this letter is a virus free zone! A little over a week from now, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as President of the United States. An occasion that will bring to an end what for many has been the most tumultuous period in recent American history; the presidency of Donald J Trump. We all have our personal opinion about ‘The Donald’ but none of us can but be shocked at events in Washington a few days ago; events for which there can be no justification. More intriguing has been the way in which large swathes of the Christian constituency gave him their wholehearted support. Even believing that in spite of his ‘behavioural track record’, especially with regard to women, he was appointed by God to ‘Make America Great Again’. And however unpalatable it might be, it remains true that even today Donald Trump continues to enjoy the support of many so-called Evangelical Christians, including a sizeable proportion of black, middle class, suburban evangelicals. It is hard to argue with someone who believes that the will of God has been thwarted by individuals who have deliberately manipulated the result of an election to suit their own ‘Godless’ purpose. As Christians we all have a duty to engage politically. But it is bad politics, and even worse theology to assume God favours one candidate over all the others. Politics is the means by which we govern ourselves; not as puppets acting at the behest of a Divine puppet master, rather as women and men seeking to do what we believe to be in the best interests of those whom we serve. Our faith shapes our character and it is our character that informs our politics. Paul spoke of the fruit of the Spirit being, ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control.’ Elsewhere he exhorted his readers thus, ‘all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, all that is loveable and attractive, whatever is excellent and admirable, think on these things.’ This is not the vocabulary of your average party-political manifesto, but it does give us a template by which we might evaluate their relative merits. We may not reach the same conclusion. We may vote for different candidates, at least we would have subjected them all to the same ‘level’ of scrutiny. There is life after Covid; the effects of the Pandemic will be constrained; we will return to something like what we might call ‘normality’. Society will have to be rebuilt, and as Christians we will have a part to play in its rebuilding.

There is life after Covid