COVID 19 & Beyond. The random thoughts of a retired clergyman by Rev. David Latimer

August 4, 2020

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Fellbach Rev. David Latimer

Across the world from China to South Korea and onwards to Italy, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand, America, the United Kingdom and into Ireland, the rhythm of everyday life has suddenly altered beyond all recognition. Difficult decisions by Governments to purposely change the way we all live have been introduced to stop the spread of a new deadly virus called COVID 19. Nothing on this scale has ever been attempted. The raft of measures being applied in over one hundred countries reinforces, as never before, the importance of social solidarity. Beyond all doubt every single one of us is in the same boat now!

Precious religious and cherished cultural differences, so often a barrier to peaceful co-existence, pale in comparison to the indisputable fact that whether we self-identify as British, Irish, Catholic, Protestant, Agnostic or Atheist cannot conceal the reality that we are only as strong as we are united and as weak as we are divided!

Indeed, as we hunker down in the coming weeks and months we must remember our raison d‘etre, as members of the same human race, relies on the essential truth that a life well lived is a life in the service of others. And we are witnessing quite unprecedented acts of kindness and deeds of love taking place in a host of ways to connect with those who are most at risk to the Coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, the continental style mass applause for Health Care workers that we recently witnessed, as people stood in their door-ways and at their garden gates, revealed a beautiful cross-community spirit that powerfully transcended both faith and politics. People, filled with fear, are privately and quietly praying to the same God and our collective prayer is that from this crisis a better world will emerge where we will pledge to live in relationship, not out of relationship, and get to know one another better.

Amazingly, in a few short months the word ‘Brexit’ has almost become a relic of ancient history; so too have the words Border Poll and Reunification that were progressively building walls that sadly only serve to divide. Something much bigger and much more important has unbelievably crept into our lives and that is the survival of our species!

When this crisis abates and we begin to recover the top priority for all of us, whatever our label, must unashamedly be to recalibrate our compasses by resolving to re-shape this lovely little piece of God’s world, that we each call home, by turning it into the kind of place that makes life on earth worth living, the kind of place that enables people to grow in hope and to build a better life for their children.

This Coronavirus outbreak is clearly not an afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and soon forget. Moreover, while there may be no way of knowing when normality will return to our cities, towns and villages we must of necessity keep our heads pointing towards the sun and our feet moving forward, holding fast to those immortal words once spoken by Dr King, when he said ‘life is not a long dark corridor with no exits!’

History confirms life’s storms eventually pass. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if, on the far side of COVID 19, our deepest desire was to shape our country in ways that would permit the twin pillars of co-operation and partnership rule supreme across the land?

Regardless of our differing creeds and diverse cultures now is the time and we are the people to dig down deep into our souls and appeal to the better angels of our nature by building bridges of friendship that will progressively pave the way to greater harmony and a peaceful and prosperous future.

David is a friend of Shared Ireland and has done a podcast with us before here. He also participated in our specialty podcast on legacy here.

David Latimer profile picDavid Latimer is a retired clergyman after serving 32 years as a minister at First Derry Presbyterian Church and is the author of the book A Leap of Faith: How Martin McGuinness and I worked together for peace.



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One comment on “COVID 19 & Beyond. The random thoughts of a retired clergyman by Rev. David Latimer

  1. Hi David I wonder r you the David latimer from maypole park I lived on NUM 33 ,Noel hamilton