I was walking round the supermarket the other day, perusing the empty shelves, when I was struck by the irony of the song that was playing over the sound system. It was Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” and specifically the line:
“Don’t it always seem to go / You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”
Within one or two very short (or very long!) weeks, the world has changed beyond recognition. And things that we took for granted until recently, have now suddenly grown in importance and significance at some level. Here’s a random list, not in any particular order of importance:
A handshake. Toilet paper. Bread flour. Human contact. A walk in the park. Gathering together as a church to worship. Social gatherings. Going to watch a film. Eating together with friends. Popping by to see your Elderly mum. McDonalds. Hugging. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Your job.
And on the list goes.
Things that we took for granted just a couple of weeks ago are now extremely rare or impossible. And more and more restrictions seem to be coming our way in the face of Covid-19.
I don’t know about you, but I felt a palpable sense of gratitude, a deep sense of relief, to “gather together” on Sunday, to see familiar faces, to have Andy and Rachel and Clau lead us in worship, although I have to admit, it was a bit weird listening to myself preach.
And I thought about how grateful I am for the body of Christ, for our church family, for brothers and sisters whom I sometimes take for granted.
This week’s Song of Ascent is Psalm 122 – “I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
I don’t want to take this too far. I am not a massive hugger and kisser, and you know I am at the introvert end of the personality scale….
But I am looking forward to the day when I can plant a big kiss on Joy Pluckrose’s cheek and give Ruth Wellington a big bear hug and shake your hand at the door and watch Maldwyn snooze off during my sermon, and see Dave Beresford shifting in his seat and looking at his watch, and have Andy tuning his guitar while I am trying to give the notices.
I am looking forward to it!
And that day is coming my friends. So keep your heads up and your gaze fixed on Jesus, and the day will come soon enough when we rejoice with those who say to us: “Let us go to the house of the Lord”!
So get ready Joy – pucker up!