I’ve just been out with our Labrador, for a walk. It was a time of much needed physical and mental activity for both of us, and the vitamin D through the glorious sunshine is beneficial too. Walks though have become a little strange, every so often it is not him that stops to sniff, but me who stops to look. Not at the scenery, or the remaining daffodils, but peering down a ginnel to see if the coast is clear.
I see someone, but is that person at the far end walking towards me or are they heading away, and is there someone who is waiting their turn, out of my eye range, wanting to come the other way? Even on the High Street, wide though it may be, I found a BT engineer working down a utility access hole, he was in a fixed position I would have to cross over, but I can see a family with toddlers, heading in the opposite direction, I would need to let them pass first so maybe I just walk up the middle of the road like the jogger I saw the other day who was simply following the white line in the middle of the road, though the cyclist coming up behind her wasn’t that happy.
The population out and about has turned into bubbles of individuals, couples and families, each with a constantly moving 2metre invisible cordon that must not converge else it would seem the universe might explode (or at least one of the occupants of a bubble might in a fit of rage). For the most part we are all being very polite and taking turns, as we walk in different directions or different paces, always crossing the road to avoid meeting.
Then I’m suddenly minded of a parable Jesus told of people avoiding another. The Good Samaritan described in Luke 10 is unlike the priest and Levite. Although he is from a different culture he comes close when help is needed. Jesus took this example of a person of someone who the Jewish society would have scorned, but who becomes a neighbour showing Love.
If we look at those who are coming close to the sick in our hospitals and care homes, meeting our delivery needs, taking away our rubbish, and ensuring we can stay at home, many of these key workers are low paid, and many are perhaps immigrants. They are people that often are powerless or overlooked, maybe even rejected by society. They are the Good Samaritans of today.
We keep our distance to do the good turn, but let’s remember in prayer those who, in their service, must daily take a risk and be in close contact with others.