If you are struggling to know how to answer the dreaded question ‘how are you’ then hosanna might be the word you are looking for.
There are probably not many people who can honestly say that they are completely fine in face of this pandemic and if there are, I’m certainly not one of them. If we are struggling, then I want to remind us that you don’t have to be like the person in this picture, no one should have to pretend to be okay if they are not!
Although everyone struggles, it may broadly be true for some of us that we are mostly coping well considering the times we are living in.
It’s natural to be concerned
There are 1,235,732 worldwide cases of Covid-19 and at least 67,196 people who have been diagnosed with it have died (worldometers). Living in lockdown with the uncertainty of how long it will go on for will increasingly have a detrimental impact on our mental health. For those who are losing or who have lost loved ones, there is the additional pain of possibly being unable to be at a hospital bedside to say goodbye or even to attend the funeral because of restrictions on numbers gathering. This is also a financially worrying time for many as jobs have been lost and some sources of income have dried up. On top of this, some will be facing extra pressures in their households depending on who they live with. It is heartbreaking to think of anyone feeling even more trapped in abusive relationships and I hope that anyone in this situation will find the courage to leave and to find freedom. From personal experience, I know that households with family members with additional needs will be struggling without the respite that school or other carers would usually bring.
There is a lot to be encouraged about
The recovery rate which currently stands at 255,589 (worldometers) is much higher than the death rate. Although most people who contract Covid-19 will recover, it goes without saying that we should all fully take part in the lockdown in order to save as many lives as possible. In these difficult times, we have been reminded that there is so much that is good about our culture as we see support groups being set up, helpful resources being offered and people working hard to contact people who may be especially vulnerable. People are talking about the importance of mental health and looking after ourselves. As a part of this, it’s been good to see so many ‘be kind to yourself’ posts on social media and to see people taking daily exercise with appropriate social distancing. Here in the UK, the recent rounds of applause for the NHS and the emphasis on the importance of our key workers are causing us as a society to focus and to be more thankful towards those who keep this country running. The government is offering financial help which is alleviating the worry for many people. On a personal note, I have been grateful for the people who have been in touch with my wife and I to see how we are coping as a family at this time. My son and his girlfriend also chose to spend the lockdown with us to offer support with the rest of our family and this is one example of the kindness and generosity that we are seeing all around us.
So, what can we say when we are asked if we are okay?
Until now, my answer would have been dependent on the moment in which I was being asked. There have been moments when I have felt miserable and some nights my sleep has been affected. Mostly though I have been okay and as a family we have enjoyed some great times together.
My new answer is Hosanna
Hosanna is a shout of hope and praise but it is also a cry for help and this describes perfectly how I am feeling.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem the crowd shouted Hosanna! There was a recognition that the Messiah (saviour) was arriving and so they used a phrase that offered praise and a sense of excitement but that also literally means ‘save’.
The Jews longed to be set free from Roman occupation and their cry of Hosanna would have been with this hope of freedom in mind. Many of them would have felt disappointment in the days that followed, as they saw that Jesus had different priorities and with hindsight we know that he is the Messiah that we all need rather than the Messiah that they may have wanted. Their disappointment ultimately led to the shouts of ‘crucify’ as they rejected Jesus and instead called for the release of Barabbas who they knew would fight against the Romans.
At this time I want to shout Hosanna!
There is so much that I want to thank G0od for but at the same time I am crying out for God’s help, strength and support and mostly that he would bring healing to people and bring an end to this pandemic.
So, if you have been struggling to articulate how you feel, perhaps it’s time to start shouting hosanna (palm leaves are optional although they may come in handy if you run out of toilet roll!)
If you would like to know more about Palm Sunday and to read more about what Hosanna means then you can do so here.
Picture by Sydney Sims Unsplash