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A covenant with Death?
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Our way of navigating life today is vulnerable to Isaiah’s vision of a people who ‘have made a covenant with Death’  so that when the ‘overwhelming scourge passes through it will not touch us’?  We are confident we have the resources to get through any difficulty.     Or might it be true that,  behind all our Dunkirk-spirit and technological capability,  ‘hearts are failing for fear’ because it is ‘sheer terror to understand the message’ of our times?    

Does Isaiah give us a neat image of our plight as the global human community:    ‘The bed is too short to stretch oneself on it, the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it’.   Problems pile up with feedbacks and pass tipping points, taking us beyond what can be managed.   Already, there is worry that what we do to curb Covid-19 is damaging ‘the economy’ and hurting people, with unemployment, poverty, isolation, loss of life-chance.  Too many problems all at once. 

Imagine scaling up old Mother Hubbard to national and international level?   She ‘had so many children she didn’t know what to do’?   Scarce resources (‘broth without any bread’) can lead to frayed nerves and violence.   Imagine the human community being  ‘sent to bed’  with no loving lullaby and no hope of breakfast in the morning?    No question, it is good to have children: the problem is ‘not knowing what to do’ and not having the material and spiritual resources to see and work towards what is good for all.   

Even in our not knowing and our not being able to cover ourselves, let us do all the good we can.    See that children get enough to eat when school is out – Thankyou, Marcus Rashford.   And thank you too to Jack Monroe, arguing that ‘the free school meals row should open up a debate about poverty itself’. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/26/ffree-school-meals-row-debate-poverty-desperate-situations And while I’m at it, Thank you, Owen Jones, linking the renaissance of the North of England with the leaking of Arctic Methane, aspects of  ‘the gravest existential threat humanity faces….We can choose to ignore it, but we are still going to crash’. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/29/tory-mps-north-needs-renaissance-must-be-green 

Written by  Haddon Willmer

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