Critcon 3 sounds like something from a Cold War nuclear crisis. This NHS alert level records that our local hospital is at full stretch.
Last February we watched pictures from Lombardy, Italy, with horror. The new coronavirus seemed to overwhelm its health system; there were not enough ICU beds or ventilators to go round. Soon our government issued the rallying cry for the first lockdown “protect the NHS!”
Now with surging hospital admissions and a new lockdown, the slogan is back. For Britons, the “cradle to grave” care the NHS strives to provide is reassuring. A new strain of Covid that threatens to overwhelm the NHS is therefore alarming. A foundation of our security is shaken.
Having our security shaken can be a crisis experience. It certainly was for Peter when armed men appeared in the dark to arrest his friend and leader. For three years Peter had followed Jesus. Peter had listened spellbound to Jesus teaching from his boat, seen him calm a storm with his voice and heard him call a dead man from his tomb. Peter loved his Messiah.
But now rough men had come for him. Peter’s saviour needed saving! Out came his sword, down came the blade and the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant, was severed.
“No more of this” Jesus said, touching the ear and healing it. The Saviour didn’t need saving after all. This was part of the plan.
Part of the plan
People long for a coherent Covid plan. We have probably watched more news conferences in the past year than ever before. Despite lockdowns and tiers, testing and vaccines, our leaders often seem to be reacting desperately to events beyond their control.
Not so Jesus that night he was arrested. “Put your sword into its sheath,” Jesus told Peter, “shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Jesus had come to this world to drink that cup of suffering and death. He did not come to die a martyr’s death but a saviour’s death. He did not come to suffer like us but to suffer for us. The climax of Jesus’ suffering was separation from his Father while, as a substitute, he paid the full price for sin.
The ultimate Saviour
To many grateful patients the NHS has been a saviour. Its doctors and nurses have helped them through Covid or cancer diagnosis; to manage diabetes or depression.
Covid has painfully exposed its limitations. It currently needs protecting. And however well it helps us from cradle to grave, we all end up there.
Peter discovered how wrong he had been, in thinking that his Saviour needed saving, when he went to Jesus’ tomb. Jesus was not there; he had risen from the dead, he had conquered death. Jesus offers hope not just to the grave but beyond the grave.
Just like others, Christians are suffering from Covid and have died from Covid. They value the dedication and sacrifice of doctors and nurses.
But their confidence is in a Saviour who conquered death. They have asked him to forgive them for all their sins – all the times they have failed to love God with all their heart and their neighbour as themselves. They are confident that, just as Jesus rose from the dead, so they will rise with all who love him to everlasting joy and peace.
Do you have that confidence? Jesus offers it to all who sincerely turn from their sins and follow him.
If you have any questions or would like to know more please contact us.