Our island home of Guernsey in the Channel Islands has hit a new milestone this week in the battle against Covid 19. Till the first of July this year our borders were virtually closed and the virus was fairly well controlled – almost eliminated in our group of islands called ‘the Bailiwick’ (led by a Bailiff – a Crown appointment). As a result, we were free of ‘non-pharmaceutical interventions;’ (NPI’s). But, we all knew that this could not last if we were to regain our place in the wider community, and that travel by air and sea could not be put off indefinitely.
This week the Covid cases grew exponentially and the government stepped in to burst our ‘Bailiwick bubble’. Now, we are strongly recommended to wear masks in public spaces, crowds, churches, shops, buses etc. The public are also being instructed to take Lateral flow Tests (LFTs) at least twice a week and to stay at home if they have symptoms.
I know that I am vulnerable due to my surgical history and transplant etc. Yet I feel that the only thing I have to fear is fear itself! I hate the masks that rob little children of their mother’s smile, and their teacher of the means to convey their loving care. I loathe the steamed-up spectacle lenses and mask-inspired headaches. But hey – I don’t have to wear PPE for up to 12 hours daily like the front-line medics do! And we may be masked but we need not be muzzled.
There’s a lot of very lonely and frightened people about. We are called to pray one of another, but also to speak out words of encouragement and generosity of spirit. We don’t have to be silent when we can use social media for good instead of hatred. Our eyes can still reflect our smile, and our kind words bring healing and comfort.
Covid 19 will not win. Spanish flu did not win. The devilish attempts to muzzle us and mask our care must not win either. Yes, we must wear our masks because we care for the well-being of others, but it’s not going to stop us caring and reaching out because at the end of day, Jesus shows us the way – and He will win!