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Author: Jonathan Clark

Fragments on Fragments #20: Being Human in a Pandemic

In theory, when everything changes that should be a good time to reflect on what our real and deepest values are, and whether our lives are really directed towards them. In practice, it’s a time when it feels all the more needful to cling on to what’s nearest at hand and provides obvious security, whether financial or psychological. If, when and whenever the stress begins to abate, that may be the right time to think again about whether our practice is really reflecting our ideals in the things we value. Are we spending our time and energy digging for something which in the end we don’t really need or want?

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Fragments on Fragments #19: Being Human in a Pandemic

“Rediscovering listening can happen through many routes. It can be mediated by time in an external environment in which we can slow down, or through deep conversation with a friend, or by being still within ourselves in meditation or prayer. The important thing is to find ways of recovering or holding on to that capacity to listen. Only as those who have some idea of what is going on within ourselves, between ourselves and others, and in our external world, can we begin to help each other live well. Only as those who can listen are we given words to speak.”

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Fragments on Fragments #18: Being Human in a Pandemic

“For me, the pandemic has made me ask again whether I really believe that the world is genuinely ordered by the God whose face is revealed in the person Jesus Christ. In digging into that question my own faith has changed, in what I believe are good and helpful ways. But it has not been a simple or quick process, and the writing of these fragments is an important part of it.”

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Fragments on Fragments #17: Being Human in a Pandemic

“After (many of us) getting so used to travel as a basic form of activity, what would it mean to learn to live in one place? As even the commute into city centres begins to diminish with increasing work from home, how can we recalibrate our lives to have some balance of work and rest? They’re tough questions to answer. But whatever the new normal may be, it would be well for us all to be ready for a life in which we aren’t so much on the move, and to look for the ways in which that can be a cause of joy and not frustration.”

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Fragments on Fragments #16: Being Human in a Pandemic

“Heraclitus’ vision pushes us away from a competitive view of our identity, and that’s a significant counterweight to the individualism which so insidiously infects us, whether we like it or not, whether we want it or not. The other is not our enemy, but the one we may need in order to hear the word which will speak to us.”

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Fragments on Fragments #15: Being Human in a Pandemic

“What we know now for the first time was there waiting to be seen and grasped all the time. The trivial example of jigsaw puzzles comes to mind; the piece can be sitting in plain sight, but until you see it as the piece for a certain place, it doesn’t have any helpful meaning.”

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Fragments on Fragments #14: Being Human in a Pandemic

“What is a ‘good death’? For many people it’s almost impossible to think of those two words together, but all religious traditions have had their different ideas about what it means to die well – not glorifying death, nor hiding from it. In this shared tragedy, might we be able to find new ways of dying well? The first step would be to reverse the move towards the privatisation of dying (and grieving). I have been with many people at their deathbeds, and the most peaceful and least anxious have been the ones in which death’s coming is acknowledged, both by the families and the dying person.”

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Fragments on Fragments #13: Being Human in a Pandemic

“Doing that – and this is the trickiest bit – involves recognising that we can’t do it ourselves. In this time in which we have realised that we aren’t as powerful as we thought, it’s possible that a little humility might begin to grow in our souls; and that might be the ground in which the seed of God’s promise can grow.”

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Fragments on Fragments #12: Being Human in a Pandemic

“Hopkins contrasts the natural cycle, in which fire is a central component for Heraclitus, with the resurrection life. The world’s wildfire may leave but ash – but the matchwood of humanity is transformed into immortal diamond. It’s impossible to say or imagine what that might look like; the point is the promise.”

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