I’m still doing a regular Thought for the Day for BBC Scotland. One of the really great things of the Covid era is that I no longer have to be in the Studio to broadcast at 7.22 am – just nip upstairs for ten minutes and it’s done!
In this Easter season we dare to hope that a new and brighter future is beginning to beckon beyond the pandemic. Easter is always linked to springtime with fresh flowers and brighter days. And spiritually it is a springtime of hope – hope in death defeated and evil overcome.
I guess that for most of us, it will be enough just to get back to some kind of normal – freedom to move around, to meet family and friends, to socialise and to go on holiday. But, even if we are not yet aware of it, the trauma of the pandemic will have brought fundamental changes to our society. We have all suffered but the price has been paid more by some than others – the elderly, the poor more than the rich, BAME communities. Then there are the lost jobs and ruined businesses. Change will come.
In 1945, the world emerged from another long agony – the horrors of World War II – brought to an end by the inhuman agony of the atom bomb and leading to the uncovering of the holocaust. People were exhausted – time out for recovery would have been understandable – unimaginable amounts of money had been spent and needed to be repaid. It sounds familiar.
But terrible conflict had actually cleared the way for change. And within just a few years, the social map of Britain had altered drastically. The 1944 Education Act had already made secondary education free and available for all. Then in 1948 came the founding of the NHS with its promise of healthcare free for all at the point of delivery. And it is the same NHS which has brought us through the Covid pandemic at huge financial cost but even more personal and emotional cost for its staff.
Those changes of the 1940’s graced our society – astonishing in their vision and commitment to the flourishing of all. They actually transcended everyday politics. At this moment, we hope again – hope for nothing less.