‘Where is the Love?’ – We Have Opportunity to Show Love that Shatters Fear and Greed
“We are currently living in very strange, uncertain and confusing times, and the pandemic that is Covid–19 seems to have brought out both the best and the worst in people.” So said Canon Sonia Gyles in her sermon in Christ Church Cathedral yesterday morning (Sunday March 15), the Third Sunday in Lent and the first Sunday after the introduction of Government guidelines in response to the spread of the Coronavirus Covid–19. Congregation numbers in the cathedral were limited and the seats were set far apart so as to enable social distancing. The service was, as usual, livestreamed via the cathedral’s webcam and many viewers joined the service online.
Driving in her car last week, Canon Gyles said a song by the music group, Black Eyed Peas – ‘Where is the love?’ – came on the radio. She read some of the lyrics: “Whatever happened to the values of humanity, Whatever happened to the fairness in equality, Instead of spreading love we spread animosity, Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity. Father help us, send us some guidance from above, cause people got me questioning, where is the love?”
She suggested that this was rather ironic as she had just come from a supermarket in which she had witnessed two women arguing over the last tray of tinned tomatoes. The pandemic resulted in us seeing the best in the medical and caring professions in hospitals, nursing homes and in the community who continue to care for the sick an vulnerable and those most at risk despite the risk to themselves. Charities continue to help, shops offer to deliver to the elderly and housebound and hotels and cafes offering to deliver meals.
But on the other hand there are people who only look out for themselves – bulk buying without a thought for those who can’t afford to bulk buy or elderly people who cannot carry large amounts of shopping. There are people stealing face masks and hand sanitiser from hospitals. “Where is the love?” she asked.
“In the midst of panic, we seem to be losing sight of the value of others and of the importance of caring for one another, not least those who are most vulnerable and who are left feeling less important, less worthy or, indeed, forgotten altogether. We seem to be losing something of our humanity,” Canon Gyles said. “How at odds we are, then, with the message in our Gospel reading [John 4: 5–42] wherein we see humanity at its best. Of course, the scenario is very different but the message is still the same.”
The Samaritan woman had come to the well with a thirst to be seen, heard, acknowledged, accepted and to be loved, she said. Jesus responded to that thirst, ignoring the fact that by engaging with her he would have been considered a traitor to the Jewish religious tradition. “Where is the love? There is the love. Right there in Christ who by satisfying her thirst, exemplifies humanity at its best,” Canon Gyles said.
She continued: “During these weeks, maybe months, we have an incredible opportunity to show love for one another. Love, not as doctrine or feeling, but as an attitude from which we operate, a love that shatters greed and fear and selfishness. We will get through this, and when we do and when we look back on these times, may we, or those who come after us, never have to ask the question ‘where was the love?’”