In The Netherlands, just like in other countries, the weekly Litany on Friday noon has been adjourned for as long as necessary. Most churches have been closed, therefore such services are no longer possible. Instead of that, every week we ask one of our fifteen partners in The Netherlands to record and post a video of a celebration with two people. In this way, we still retain the feeling of belonging together.
This is quite necessary as well! How do we keep in touch? In the current crisis, the most essential part of human society is being affected: the fact that we need each other, to talk with each other, look in each other’s eyes and if possible, hold each other. In part, that can also be done digitally, virtually or by telephone, but that is really different. We are told to maintain a social distance, to physically avoid each other.
Biblical stories tell us about relations that come into being when people cross that boundary. Like the story in Luke 5, in which a leper prostrates himself in front of Jesus in the belief that He can help him. Jesus touches the man, which is against every rule of Moses’ law; leprosy is very contagious. Today, he would be on the receiving end of the wrath of every medical professional and politician. But the leper was healed on Jesus’ word and a new world is created, at least for the ill man. Today as well, there are people reaching out to others across the borders of what is wise and safe and sound. In order to save lives, to provide decent care. We do not leave people to fend for themselves.
In fact, the intention of our weekly Litany is the same. We pray against the actual reality of the day-to-day policy. Peace and Reconciliation. In doing so, we break up the pattern that everybody should first stand up for oneself, each nation for itself. To pray for Peace and Reconciliation is an appeal to share with each other: attention, care, means, support. Today and tomorrow. We live in a larger and wider context.
Our national representatives, the world leaders, the politicians do not always score well. Our prayer invites ourselves and our leaders to think beyond our own fears.
Chairman Coventryberaad Nederland
The videos referred to are shared on our Facebook page @ccncoventry. With thanks to Coventry’s Head Verger Dan Warchol-Anderson for another of his wonderful photos taken at the Cathedral during the current lockdown.