27th March – Anthony
The above reference -a pun on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel Love in a Time of Cholera – is already a cliché. I’ve seen that phrase online several times already and it will no doubt be the title of several think pieces to surface soon enough, but like many thing clichés, there’s an element of truth to the comparison (and I am never above a cliché).
Marquez’ novel details the story of two youths who fall in love in 19th century Colombia. They are soon forced apart by their families and moved to separate cities. They continue to connect through telegraphs, building a picture of each other remotely over time.
While the novel explores the illusions and complexities of infatuation, it also paints a picture of a relationship that is forced to sustain itself via communication alone. It’s a love story in isolation. Forgive the cliché, but I assume you take my point; our love story now exists in isolation as well.
We now live under a law of isolation. We must be alone. It happened quickly, but not without warning. The evidence that has gathered over the last few weeks has consistently pointed towards social distancing and self-isolation as the best way to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Activate Pastoral Team decided to postpone our gatherings and small groups in order to model best practice and help protect the most vulnerable, and in doing so we knew that we would change the way our own love story works.
Everything has changed. The challenge for us as a community now is to sustain the relationships we have with one another, to support those most vulnerable in this crisis, while we are forced apart. We will livestream content on a Sunday, but we must also find new ways to connect. Our togetherness is not sustained by entertainment, but by engagement, and faith is not formed by ideas, but through involvement.
Like most love stories, Love in a Time of Cholera separates our lovers before it reunites them, and we will be together again in future. Now, our challenge is to persist in our practice of love under this law of isolation. We must be alone, but the challenge for us must also be to find new ways sustain our relationships, to connect, to engage, and to involve each other in our lives and faith.