• Rev. Caroline

Melt the ice

Along the pavement which borders the beach in Arbroath, at Victoria Park, people have created a line of pebbles beautifully and variously decorated. This is one of the lovely things which is a consequence of the lockdown.

The rainbow of course has become a nationwide symbol of hope and solidarity, and an expression of support for key workers. I wonder whether the so-called “Covid-19 generation” will always associate the rainbow with the lockdown, that time when they couldn’t go to school or go out to play with their friends or have a hug from their gran and granddad. Challenging times, but I love this message of optimism!

The rainbow for those who know the bible is of course a much more ancient symbol. After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah: “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the sky. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.” (Genesis chapter 9, verses 12-13)

(To the right of the crocheted rainbow you’ll see a painted bug – there are all sorts of these in the row of pebbles.)

On the positive side of the current restrictions, people have discovered (or rediscovered) the importance of simple acts of kindness. Like the rainbow, kindness features in the scriptures. In Proverbs for instance: “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honour.” (chapter 21, verse 21). Kindness is included by the apostle Paul in his list of nine fruits of the Spirit (Galatians chapter 5, verse 22). And perhaps most famously of all, when he writes to the Corinthians about “the most excellent way”, he declares that “love is kind” (1st Corinthians, chapter 13).

You may choose to check out the website of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. As well as ideas, there is a wealth of quotes, among which this one caught my eye:

Constant kindness can accomplish much, as the sun makes ice melt.

"Kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”

Wise words from Albert Schweitzer, whose name I don’t think I’d heard since Sunday School.

I remembered him as a missionary, but what else had he achieved? A great deal! He was a theologian, author and pastor, an organist and a medical doctor. It was with his wife, who trained as a nurse to support him, that he went out to French Equatorial Africa where he founded a hospital, with local labour and some of his own money. In 1952 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace (he died in 1965 at the grand old age of 90).

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