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Despite all misgivings, it is great to see people enjoying their holiday.
Tourism is good for the community and the local economy. Especially as we emerge from lockdown. Holidays remind us of the importance of rest, leisure and freedom; a time for reflection, restoration and reassessment.
People of faith may also welcome the time of relaxation to take a look at what they believe, and its impact on their lives. The words of the Psalm come to mind: ‘Be still and know that I am God’. In moments of quiet it may bring some release to ‘activate’ those words in our hearts. A practical suggestion is to gently repeat those words until the body begins to relax. Then just continue to repeat the phrase while gradually dropping the last word until we are left with just the word ‘be’. Yes, just be, and experience what is.
One thing for sure: in that stillness of reality, it will become clear that God is not who we think He is. Images of a nasty, remonstrating and punishing God, for example, provoke fear, and are destructive, especially in times of crisis and human vulnerability.
Christians believe in a God who has wholeheartedly and totally taken on human vulnerability. We do not ‘think’ God, but we ‘taste’ his presence when in our wounds and contradictions he whispers, in the stillness and intimacy of the unfathomable deep, words of reassurance and peace that dissipate fear and anxiety.
The God who is beyond understanding is unveiled as love, compassion and mercy in the brokenness and powerlessness of humanity and of each human being. Covid surely has evidenced the presence of Love in the actions of humble, selfless men and women of all faiths and none.
Holidays can change our vision.
Father James MacNeil, St Columba’s Cathedral, Oban