Friday, May 15th
On the operating table, a bear in its sixties...
It appears that anything Donald Trump disagrees with must be fake. If that is the yardstick for discerning what is real and what is not, there must be very little that is trustworthy. Fortunately, most of use aren't that stupid. There is, however, a real problem these days with scam emails, hoax phone calls and all sorts of other attempts to fool us all into trusting the apparently genuine deceptions.
Fortunately, most of us do have people who we can trust to advise us when we are unsure how to deal with information and people we are unsure about. They may be members of our family or close friends who we know would never try to deceive us. It may be that we know people who have proved their fidelity by the way they have always behaved or the sound advice they have always offered.
One of the worrying aspects of the way the pandemic has been dealt with, both here and in the USA, is that it has not been easy to trust our political leaders when they try to assure us that they are doing their best, that they can fulfil their promises about testing targets and the supply of PPE and so on. There are too many questions in the air, not only about what is being done at present, but also about decisions which were made in previous dealings around preparations in the possible event of a pandemic.
Even before this crisis, public confidence in parliament was at an all-time low. I don't believe that will improve in the near future. I t seems to me that we need, not only a test to indicate whether we have antibodies to fight the virus, but also a test to indicate the veracity of the statements we hear from those we look to for good government.
In John chapter 10 we are offered images of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and the Gate of the sheepfold. We see contrasts between those who exploit innocent flocks and those who are real guardians of their sheep. Our task is always to discern who is who. The conversation below, between the skin (leather) horse and the cuddly rabbit may not be the best indicator of who we can trust, but it always speaks to me about being genuine and open and approachable.
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.' 'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit. 'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.' 'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?' 'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
Mother, Father God,
Thank you for all those we know who can never be seen as ugly in our eyes,
those we trust because of the love they have shown us through the years.
May we prove to be real friends to those we meet - honest and open,
reliable and trustworthy in all we do and say.
We pray for a new sense of public accountability from all who lead and serve their societies across the world,