We are living through extraordinary times. We are beset by a disease for which there is, as yet, no cure. That is our darkness. But there is light, too.
History repeats itself in cycles. In Britain, the 1930s was a decade of harsh poverty for the many, and luxurious self-indulgence for the few. Then there was the darkness of the Second World War, and all its associated horrors. But the light came in the form of determination to build a better world thereafter.
So, in the present crisis, what is the rôle of People of Faith?
It is best set out by the Prophet Micah:
“O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6.8
So Micah wants people to act justly: to practise the requirements of God’s laws as they relate to other people. This means in actual practice that we are to give back to people what is their due, to deliver the downtrodden and the oppressed, to focus upon what is ethical and relational. Justice often runs contrary to human interest: it is not primarily about success or profit; rather, it is primarily about principles and people
Additionally, he wants us to love mercy: not from a sense of duty, but because we love doing so. We also are to walk humbly, that is, wisely and circumspectly.
That is why, in the present crisis, so many religious institutions, not least here in Woking, are working actively to help the most vulnerable in our community. While theology may divide people of faith, the ethical values which unite them are of much greater importance.
Philip Goldenberg, member of the Jewish faith
Date: Monday 18th May 2020