Visit our archive

Remember the olden days when you could catch a plane?
Before take off, while everyone is settling into their seats, arranging their snacks and praying that the person in front will never recline their seat, the cabin crew take up their positions along the aisle for the safety announcement.
During this time they will demonstrate some high level ninja skills with seat belt release clips, some high level mime skills to demonstrate floatation device inflation and some high level arm bending to illustrate the position of emergency exits behind you. 
Then they tell you what to do if there is going to be impact. 
Oxygen masks will drop from the overhead lockers and you will hear an announcement over the speaker system. 
“Brace Brace!”
At this point impact is inevitable. As a passenger we don’t know exactly what this is. Could be a bumpy landing in a storm. Could be a water landing. Could be worse…your job though is to assume a position which, though it won’t prevent the impact from happening, will give you a chance of surviving. 
I feel like that at the moment.
The horizon has been getting closer for a long time. We have watched it on the news, observed it from afar, even seen it creep over our border. Now it is here. Now there will be impact.
This has got me thinking. What does the ‘brace position’ look like for me at this moment? What do I do? Is there a guide somewhere I can reach out and grab? How do I pray?
On the night Jesus was betrayed, knowing that impact was just around the corner, He adopted the brace position all alone, distanced from his friends, kneeling in a garden.
Mark (a first century biographer of Jesus) gives us an insight into what happened. (By the way, as Jesus and his friends were walking to the garden in the late evening, Jesus comments that he was feeling ‘overwhelmed’. Anyone?) Anyway…Mark records the prayer of Jesus like this:
“Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup (impact) from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will”
Jesus is about to be arrested. Tomorrow he will be nailed to a cross having already endured a sham trial and a savage beating at the hands of some bored Roman soldiers.
But his prayer comes in two parts. 
First; God, if there is any way you can change what is about to happen (and by definition, if anyone can, God, you can)…then I ask you to do that. Find a different way. Change the course of history. Intervene and make tomorrow different. Stop the virus. If there is any way, please do it.
Second; But. Having prayed the first part full of faith and belief, I also trust that your presence will be with me in the middle of the darkness…that the darkness won’t last as long as your goodness does, and for my part, I will be faithful throughout. 
This feels like a helpful way for me to adopt a “spiritual brace position”.
What’s coming will be hard. Already is hard. Will be harder.
I am committed to praying, full of faith that somehow we might see a miracle. That God would have mercy. That someone would invent a free vaccine, that the virus would never reach the slums, that my family would be protected.
I am also committed to faithfulness throughout. To remain on my knees while also being as good a neighbour as possible and to hold on tight with both hands.