Earlier this month armed police and a police helicopter were called to a woodland in Kent, England, where a member of the public had reported seeing “a large, wild cat”. It was in fact a tiger! Nearby lives Juliet Simpson, an 85 year old sculptress. She soon received a phone call from her son to tell her of the armed police on the hill near her house. Unafraid she left her home, walked up the road, and said to the police: “Do you want to be introduced to this tiger?”
Juliet Simpson had made the life-sized sculpture of a tiger out of wire and resin 20 years ago, and originally planned to sell it, but instead she placed it amongst the trees. “When I put him in the wood he sort of owned it and soon became a landmark,” she said. What once took a lot of skill and effort to make has now become, Juliet admits, “rather dilapidated”, but she is content to let it be.
As many European countries are slowly easing their Covid-19 lockdown measures, we face an unknown future. Many say that we will never return to the pre-Covid normal. Like Juliet, we can value what was good about the past, but still have the courage to leave it there. We now have an opportunity to reinvent how our society works and together make a new normal. It’s an opportunity to appreciate what we have – including our health, and lose the need to fill our homes with more possessions.
This coronavirus has brought tragic consequences for many during the last three months, but we have also seen some good. We have realised who the true heroes are in our society, those without whose sacrificial efforts day by day, life comes to a halt. Air quality has improved across the world, with thousands of pollution-related deaths being avoided as a result. Some of us have become much closer to our neighbours – despite the social distancing! Many have sacrificed their own comfort and safety in volunteering to serve those who are frail or at risk. Even those who were never gym-goers, have discovered the value of regular exercise, and those who were never church-goers have discovered through online church services that there is much more to Christianity than they realised.
And not only that, but the pandemic has opened our eyes to our own frailty as human beings. We are no longer masters of our own future. When our life is at stake, and the medical teams are doing all they can, there is only one person to turn to, and that is God, our Creator, who said:
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be distressed, for I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will hold you safe in my hands. I always do what is right.”
We are, each one of us, very valuable and greatly loved. With Jesus by our side we can build a better society, whether we face a pandemic or a paper tiger.