Thought for the day 3 June

3 June

Much attention is given in the News at the moment to the unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd. Deep-seated prejudice and pent-up anger in a country deeply divided over its core values and so much more, has led to widespread protest and violence. On this side of the Atlantic we like to think that we don’t have the same attitudes to race and inequality, that we all share the same values. But do we? What do stories in the News here tell us?

 

Lord, it is easy to see what we want to see, to have myths and legends about what we are like as a community or country. Sometimes we fail to recognise that the reality is rather different from the myth. Help us to be open and honest about our failings as individuals and as a community, and seek to address both

 

Thought for the day 2 June

2 June

We hear politicians say, ‘We’re following the science’, but then hear other eminent scientists disagreeing with the approach government advisers have recommended. People then become confused, and some become sceptical about ‘scientific advice’. There is an old adage ‘What is a fact? Answer: a working hypothesis not yet capable of being disproved.’ That might be hard to get your head round, but it reflects the situation where ‘experts’ (in whatever field) are usually engaged in debate and discussion over experimental evidence or modelling, and adapting and changing their conclusions in the light of new evidence or consideration of other ‘experts’’ critique of their approach. It might have helped if politicians had presented ‘science’ not as some kind of objective truth that cannot be questioned, but rather as a ‘balance of probability in the light of current understanding’. That doesn’t make for easy sound-bites, it might be harder for people to understand, it might even imply that those taking the decisions might not be backed up by unquestionable advice, but it just might help people to understand that we don’t have all the answers. We are where we are, but maybe going forward we need to recognise that neither we, nor the governments, nor their advisers, know everything, but that the advice given is based on years of careful research and review.

 

Lord, help us to appreciate that we do not know everything about how to suppress and eradicate Covid-19. Help us too to listen to those who have great knowledge and expertise, and follow their advice 

 

Thought for the day 1 June

1 June

It has long been said that a good law does not have to be just, simply clear and easily enforceable. It is a concept that readily applies to lockdown restrictions. Total lockdown may or may not be fair, but at least the rules/guidelines are clear and are easily enforceable. Once they start to be relaxed, with changes here and there, then it becomes harder to remember what is permissible and what isn’t (especially when people have been ‘confined’ for a long time, are becoming bored with being at home, and the weather is nice). It becomes a little more complex when there are different steps for easing restrictions across the four nations of Britain. At times the media don’t help public awareness of which rules/guidelines apply when they miss out the words ‘in England’, and imply that moves there apply across Britain as a whole. Whether we like the rules/guidelines that apply to us or not, let’s make sure we know what they are and try to stick to them, being examples to others (without setting ourselves up as judge and jury telling them what they should and shouldn’t be doing)

 

Lord, help us to follow the guidelines as they apply to us

 

Pentecost Service with the Moderator of the General Assembly and others

A service led by the Moderator of the General Assembly will be online on Sunday 31st May for Pentecost.

View the service here: https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news/2020/watch-the-church-wide-pentecost-service alternative versions, including with captions, BSL, text-only and dial in are vailable here: https://stream1.churchofscotland.org.uk/worship/weekly-worship/pentecost

Thought for the day 30 May

30 May

Sunny weather and permission to travel a bit further and meet more people will be welcomed by most folk. But there are still quite a number of people who cannot take advantage of either: if they are shielded, and don’t have a garden. Many are ‘weary’ of these weeks of lockdown – though they appreciate that it is for the good of their own health. Let’s remember them, and do what we can to support them through their continuing lockdown

 

Lord, as many of us prepare to enjoy today’s good weather, and plan to go out (even to the garden) help us to remember those who cannot, and do what we can to support them

PS After today we go back to Renfrew Wharf and catch one of the black and white funnel steamers to Bowling (‘the Frisky Wharf’, closed 1937) to disembark for a ‘wee dauner’ along the Canal as far as Old Kilpatrick

Thought for the day 29 May

29 May

There’s a Wild Goose song that begins “O where are you going, and can I come with you?” It sounds like a good theme song for today, as Lockdown restrictions are slightly eased. The official answer would be something like “Not more than 5 miles away, and provided we are not from more than 2 households, not more than 8 in number, and remember to keep 2 metres apart”. But that doesn’t fit easily to the tune Laredo/ The Bard of Armagh! Some would like the restrictions eased quicker, some are wary of any easing, some will see no real difference because they are shielded, some are confused because the message relating to Scotland is often drowned out in the media with information relating to England. Let’s try to keep within the guidelines, always remembering that our over-riding concern is to avoid doing anything that risks infecting our family, friends, neighbours, or the wider community, or undermines the vital work key-workers are doing.

 

Lord, thank you that we see a glimmer of hope in the slight easing of restrictions today. If we are able to take advantage of it, help us to do it sensibly and responsibly – and we ask that others would do the same

 

Thought for the day 28 May

28 May

Some people have been furloughed because of the Covid-19 crisis, some have been made redundant, or were self-employed and are not able to work. Other are working from home. There can be benefits in working at home: no commuting, a more relaxed dress code, less risk of catching other infections such as colds. There can be challenges too: children who interrupt the video-call to tell you they are bored, the elderly relative that does the same to say that they have lost something, the neighbours who all decide to cut their lawn or do DIY with hammer and drill at the same time. Some people live in nice big houses in rural areas where there is not only quiet but plenty of space for everyone to have their own working area. Others live in flats, or on roads busy with traffic. It appears that home-working may become much more common as lockdown restrictions are eased. Let’s remember those living with the challenges (is there anything we can do to help?), and hope that employers/ governments recognise that those who are home-working need support in all sorts of ways

 

Lord, thank you that there is technology available for people to work at home. It can be a great blessing for many, but can also come with many challenges. We pray for those who are struggling to work at home. Help us to be ready to offer help if we can. We pray too that employers and governments will recognise that those who are home-working may need additional support, and will be willing to provide it

 

Thought for the day 27 May

27 May

Following on from yesterday’s theme, there are many younger people worried about what their future job prospects are – and more immediately income/cash flow. Many young folk have jobs in the hospitality sector (through the year in take-aways, restaurants etc) and particularly over the summer (hotels etc). It gives them extra cash (especially students) and some ‘job experience’ to put on their CV when seeking other employment. Which sector is expecting to be hit especially hard? But there are others too. What are the longer term job prospects for young people? And don’t let’s forget that they are the ones who will pay the National Insurance to keep the health service, pensions etc going in future years. Life is all inter-connected – what affects someone else affects us too

 

Lord, help us to remember that we are not alone and unaffected by other people’s difficulties. But that shouldn’t simply be a matter for selfish concern. If nothing else, the last couple of months have reminded us of the benefit of working together, being a community. We think particularly of our young folk and their job prospects. May they be able to fulfil their ambitions, and realise their potential

 

Thought for the day 26 May

26 May

How to restore/ revive/ save the economy is a recurring theme in the News, and a very real issue. We have heard of companies going into administration and employees being laid off, of whole sectors from airlines to tourism to football clubs worried that many businesses will not survive, and of governments seeking to limit the scale of a recession. A business closing has many implications: for employees, for the community, for the supply chain that served it, to mention a few. But it isn’t just about financial figures. It can mean hardship for individuals, disappointment, disillusionment, the end of hopes and dreams. Let’s pray that those in power take the appropriate decisions to support people and communities

 

Lord, helping businesses to come through this crisis and be able to operate in the future is a complex matter. It also involves the lives of individuals, families and communities. May those in positions of power make decisions that take those considerations into account