If The World Was Ending

JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels

We interrupt your programming – this is a national emergency …

I’ve been pondering this song for a while, first hearing it on the radio as I headed to work. What would I do if the world was ending? Where would I go? Who would I contact? Who would be first in my mind? The singer seems to be filled with insecurity, “you would come over, right?” He seems prepared to throw all caution to the wind, but he’s not quite sure she feels the same way.

This Covid 19 Lockdown has caused many of us to reflect on life and how we spend our days. I have certainly gone from being on the road meeting and speaking to new people daily, to staying at home and talking to a very limited number of people. We know that the world isn’t ending, but there is a sense that life has changed and so have priorities. When disaster strikes, in times of crisis, will someone be there for me and with me? How will I choose to prioritise things that want my attention?

If the world was ending….what? There is a common phrase “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” which crops up a few times in the Bible. The one story comes to mind of a rich landowner who stored up immense riches intending to just sit back and enjoy himself having more than enough for years to come. That night he died…it was the end and he would never enjoy all the wealth he had gathered. (Luke 12 v 19)

If the world was ending…what? Would I just eat, drink and be merry? In Covid-19 am I just eating, drinking and being merry or is there another response?

Don’t Give Up

Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush

We all need hugs!

March 2020 – Covid-19 lockdown – the world is uncertain, jobs are lost or fragile. Many people are literally “home alone”. A friend of mine who lives alone, previously articulate and outspoken on Facebook, suddenly removed their account preceded by one message to me:

I'm tired... Nobody cares, they all think I'm a heretic. There's only so much a bloke can take

Self-isolation and social distancing takes many different forms, not just physical.

I listened again to this beautifully moving song from Peter Gabriel, written in the 1980s when coal mines were being closed and unemployment was high. Wikipedia links it to Gabriel’s response to photos taken in the American Depression era. “He composed lyrics within a situation about a man whose unemployment causes stress in his domestic relationship. The verses, sung by Gabriel, describe the man’s feelings of isolation, loneliness and despair; the choruses, sung by Bush, offer words of hope and encouragement.”

And when I read that paragraph something resonated – isolation, loneliness and despair – all words we are using to describe the situation we currently face.

The video is simply a very long hug between Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush as he pours out his despair and she pours in her encouragement and hope. She assures him that he belongs, that he is not alone in this crisis: 

“Don’t give up, ‘Cause you have friends
Don’t give up, You’re not the only one
Don’t give up, No reason to be ashamed
Don’t give up, You still have us

The need to belong somewhere, to someone, to a community, resonates with us all across the world right now. In South Africa the word used is “ubuntu” and the phrase “umntu, ngumntu ngabantu” helps to understand that “A person is a person through other people”….or “I am because I belong”. 

9 “Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up. 10 We should help people whenever we can…” )
Galatians 6.9-10

Don’t give up helping others … I wonder who I can “sing” this song to today? And maybe these are words that God also “sings” to us?

Don’t give up now, We’re proud of who you are
Don’t give up, You know it’s never been easy
Don’t give up, ‘Cause I believe there’s a place
There’s a place where we belong

©Judith Twani

Wikipedia – Don’t Give Up
Hotlipsmusic – Hold On Tight To Your Dream