Presbyterian Moderator: The heroes of the pandemic remind us that the Bible is full of heroism
This pandemic has gripped us for long enough, and we can’t shake it off.
Like a long dark path, it appears to have no end. But there are signs, glimmers of increasing hope, even with the appalling nightly litany of statistics recording those who have passed away.
A new dawn is surely coming. Vaccines which have been developed by genius minds in labs across the world give us hope, and appear to be effective, even with the variants of the virus now emerging.
Healthcare heroes, who labour day and night on the frontline have held back the tide in our care homes and hospitals.
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They all deserve medals.
What days we are living through! But there are other heroes too.
Some, like Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died recently aged 100, achieved national renown, not just for the money he raised, but for his simple tenacity. The Queen didn’t call him ‘an inspiration’ for nothing. But there are other heroes, unsung and battling behind the scenes who are just keeping on keeping on.
I know a young couple who run a hostel in Scotland. They haven’t had any back-packers to stay for months, so their business is closed.
Even with some welcome help from the government, they can’t realistically expect to pay their bills with no income. So what are they to do? They press on, wait for better days, and plan for improvements to their building.
I know of a young mother with seven children. She is, what you might call, ‘New Irish’. She started out in a deeply troubled part of the world, and arrived on these shores as a refugee with her family.
She manages on her own. English is not her first, or even her second language, but she is home-schooling her kids through the pandemic — in English!
I am completely in awe of her committed determination to keep going.
It is heroic.
Along with the vaccine-designers, the frontline NHS workers, the cleaners and cooks, the care workers and carers at home, we are surrounded by heroes.
Teachers, who’ve had to find a new ways of teaching.
Journalists who have had to find new ways of reporting.
Ministers and pastors who have had to find new ways of doing church.
These people, and more like, them are remarkable.
I was again confronted by examples of powerful heroism as I read the recent Report on Mother and Baby Homes.
Mothers and their grown up children bravely told their shocking stories, hidden for so long.
The Bible is full of heroes, the well-known and the unsung.
Hagar, for example, was a household servant who was used as a surrogate mother to provide a much-wanted son, and was subsequently banished into the desert by the family she served.
There she had an encounter with God, and for the first time, felt truly seen and valued as a person in her own right. People had let her down, but God had not. In fact she calls God “the One who sees me”.
As we continue to deal with this pandemic, big and small heroic acts are being revealed across Northern Ireland — vaccinators, home-schoolers, business people, health workers, newcomers, the ones who have found courage to tell their stories;
Here is one thing we can all hold on to. You are seen. You are known.
You are loved — what’s more, there is hope for everyone.
• Rt Rev Dr David Bruce is Presbyterian Moderator
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