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Chitra Ramaswamy
Does being violent only mean one’s direct involvement in violence or does it also include being silent about injustices around us?
 
Violent conflict between religious communities is often provoked by insidious stereotyping and caricaturing of the other’s practices, beliefs and aims. 

A TIME TO HEAL

 

The Covid-19 lockdowns have given people around the world a unique experience of a world with less human impact. As business slows and commuters stay home, air and water pollution have dropped significantly in many major cities around the world. People have joyfully tweeted photos of clear views and shared satellite images of lower air pollution levels.

Rest for the land is ancient wisdom that is codified in many cultures and religions (for example, the Bible commands a “sabbath” for people, animals and the land). It’s clear that during Covid-19 lockdowns the earth and its creatures have been enjoying a kind of rest. Perhaps Covid-19 is also providing an enforced rest for humans – a species that finds it impossible to break from a working-consuming lifestyle. Rest helps us recover a wiser perspective on life, giving us a chance to reflect, reorient, appreciate God’s creation, goodness and provision and to gain wisdom.

Environmental writers say we need visions of recovery and renewal to help us make courageous changes. During Covid-19 lockdown we’ve been given a small glimpse of a cleaner, more nature-friendly world.

As countries emerge from lockdown, many people are asking whether we want to return to the same track we were on or rebuild our economies in a more earth-friendly way. Historically, crises have often been the trigger for major changes in society, so it seems that Covid-19 presents an opportunity. However major changes often are only possible if the people demand it. As your country emerges from lockdown, consider how you would like things to be different. More reliance on locally produced food? More investment in renewable technologies? Stricter regulations on vehicle emissions? Some of us could be part of the change, and all of us influence the people around us. So discuss with your friends and neighbours and pray for business leaders and decision-makers in your country.