Bishop Guli's 'Thought For The Day'

As children return to school and young people prepare for college and universities where unfamiliar Coronavrisu measures are now in place, Bishop Guli shares a reflection on Jesus bringing us life in all its fullness in her 'Thought For The Day' on BBC Radio 4.

The transcript of her broadcast is published below and you can listen again for a few weeks on this link.

Bishop of Loughborough’s ‘Thought For the Day’, 27.8.20

The ongoing debates raging around whether or not children should wear face masks in schools demonstrates the extent of apprehension around the reopening of educational institutions. I see something of how all the uncertainty is impacting my own children, twins going into the final year of GCSEs and an older son approaching his last year as an undergraduate. The reopening of schools, colleges and universities represents another step on the return to some kind of normality, yet it also brings into sharp focus the reality that living in the current climate is about much more than the need to prioritise physical safety in the face of Coronavirus. At some level we’ve always known this, but now the tension feels especially acute as we witness Government and institutions attempt to balance the management of physical health with mental wellbeing and the development of young people in the widest sense.

Being at school is about so much more than exam results. Children won’t receive a rounded education by remaining in small bubbles and concentrating on their textbooks for ever. Universities aren’t just about academic degrees. Young people need space and scope to expand their minds, form relationships, explore their interests and learn about life in all its complexity.

Yet all the evidence suggests that Covid-19 isn’t going away any time soon. As a society we’re going to have to find a way, sensibly, to live alongside it. Most faith traditions recognise that each life is precious and valued. The Judeao-Christian vision is of every individual cherished by God in whose image we are made. It’s right and proper that we take health warnings seriously, striving to protect lives as far as possible. At the same time if society remains so gripped by fear of illness and death that we think of nothing but physical safety we risk losing sight of other virtues that make us human in the fullest sense: virtues like compassion, kindness, sociability, community, to name but a few. We are more than physical shells, we are soul and spirit too. This is what Jesus recognised when he spoke of coming “that we may have life in all its fullness”.

And there’s an added dimension too for Christians for whom the value placed on human life in this world is held alongside the promise of life after death. This gives a sense of something bigger and beyond our mortal lives, providing meaning and context for all that we value and hold dear here and now.


First published on: 28th August 2020
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