Monday, 20 April 2020

Thirty Four Days of Being Closed - All About Identity

Well it looks like we are over the hump but no one is taking it for granted. The news is giving everyday stories of death and despair which keep us safely ensconced in our isolated worlds. A new aspect of the crisis that has just started are protests against the social distancing restrictions in the US, Brazil and Russia. Apparently people don't think that the virus is dangerous enough to stay inside.

Tonight I was part of a prayer meeting organised by the Portsmouth Christian Supporters Club to pray for the football industry. We prayed that this time of great change will bring opportunities for the good news of the gospel.

In a small way I have experienced the stripping away of my identity that this lockdown has brought. No more services on Sundays or people to visit. I can only imagine how much worse it must be for professional footballers whose identity is bound so intently to what they do on a Saturday afternoon. Locked in the bubble of the football circus that creates obsessive level of interest amongst millions. No adulation from the crowds, loss of status and purpose all because of a tiny virus particle. There is the uncertainty of finances and security as all clubs involved struggle with the end of the season that may or may not happen.

In the end it's all about identity. Where do we find our true meaning? Does it depend on external appreciation or are we secure because we understand our relationship with our heavenly father. It is because we are loved that we can survive the storms that we face. Without that anchor, if there is hole where there should be a heart filled with love then there is ample space for all sorts of idols to claim their victim.

We all need a fixed point to see the world from. A place to stand that allows us to make sense of life. When everything changes because of a pandemic that need becomes even greater. Psalm 46 advises that we should be still and know God. Keeping safe by staying inside is a trial that forces us to face our own nature, our values and ideals. Perhaps at the end of all this we will have got to the end of our excuses and be able to accept that we need a bigger and better perspective with which to view the life that we lead.

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