I read an article this week that compared our current situation to electronic trance music. One of the easy jokes in respect of trance music is about ‘waiting for the drop’. The music typically builds up to a climax before wiping out the drums and the bassline to effect a calm before the storm. The ‘calm’ serves two purposes. First, it allows you to catch your breath on the dancefloor, and, second, it builds anticipation for the inevitable ‘drop’, when the bassline and the drums ‘drop’ back into the mix. The article compared the current atmosphere to the calm tinged with expectation.
Except it is not really clear what we are waiting for. What will the drop consist of? Are we flattening the curve? Are we killing the curve? Are we hanging out for a vaccine? They are all goals but with hugely different timelines and associated costs. Have we cleared the worst, or will this last significantly longer?
One benefit of the current situation, though, is that it allows us to see politics at its best. Now, I don’t mean our politicians are the best (though, I am sure they are trying their best), but at least we get to see a community rallying around a common cause. We can see real, rational debate, as we struggle to understand the problem, formulate solutions (or at least some initial approaches) and then determine the criteria for judging the proposals. And whatever the outcome of this process, and whatever hindsight may reveal later on, it is encouraging, in light of Anzac Day, to see our society instinctively do what it can to protect the vulnerable. The stillness should not silence this reality. This is something to celebrate, even if it does not solve the challenges we face. I hope we don’t forget this experience of the common good, and that our political scene can be healed by it to a certain extent from the overly rancorous and partisan scene we have got used to. But this will come down to us.
Our gospel this week is the story of the road to Emmaus. What stopped me in my tracks on my read-through this year was how Jesus’s initial question to the disciples...stopped them in their tracks. It occurred to me that this is not a bad indicator of when God has something particular to ask of us. Usually, if something pulls us up short, it is because we cannot process it. There is a system overload: either too much information or the need for a fundamental recalibration. In any case, we need to pay attention. We have been given something big to digest.
With that in mind, perhaps we might reflect on when and how our lives have been halted over the last few weeks. What might God be asking of us? When we reflect on this, I recommend having a read of the rest of the story of the road to Emmaus. It gives us a very good roadmap for learning to hear God in our lives. But check the homily for more on that – I can’t give everything away here.
God bless, look after yourselves, and do know you are all in my prayers every day.