Comment by Harborough churches: Let us not simply count the Covid deaths piling up, but respect and honour the lives lost

Every week, the Harborough churches write for the Harborough Mail. This week, it is the turn of Rev. Andy Murphy, Methodist Minister in Market Harborough, Kibworth and Naseby, and Vice-chair of Churches Together in Harborough

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 2:10 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd May 2021, 2:12 pm
Rev. Andy Murphy, Methodist Minister in Market Harborough, Kibworth and Naseby, and Vice-chair of Churches Together in Harborough.

Viewpoint by Rev. Andy Murphy, Methodist Minister in Market Harborough, Kibworth and Naseby, and Vice-chair of Churches Together in Harborough.

As we hear of the terrible escalation of the coronavirus in India, and the rising number of deaths there each day, our thoughts and prayers are with that country – so densely populated and already with a lot of poverty and illness. And as we reflect on the success of our vaccination programme in the UK and the wonderful people in the NHS who have made this possible, I am very thankful. My prayer is for a fairer distribution of vaccines and medical equipment, so that the whole world may soon recover.

As we consider the vast number of Covid-related deaths in the UK, it can be easy at times (if not directly affected) to start to see them just as numbers on a chart, or a line that goes up and down.

Sometimes, we can even be insensitive with the way certain words or phrases are thrown about, but for those who have lost loved ones, each one carries the deepest significance.

Funerals are part-and-parcel of the work of a minister, but they are never ordinary – never ‘just’ another funeral. I had the privilege of conducting one last week – a 95-year-old man who had lived (some might think) a fairly ordinary life. He worked for the post office, did national service, raised a family with his wife of 65 years, loved his two sons and two granddaughters, looked after his garden, and was a leader in the Scouts. There was nothing remarkable about him, but neither was he ‘ordinary’.

The more I learned about him from his family, the more I wanted to know him. He was liked by his friends, respected by his neighbours, and deeply loved by his family. He was a man of faith and faithfulness, cheerful and good-humoured, reliable and trustworthy. He had no riches to speak of, or any title. No one would ever write a book about his life. And yet, without people of good character like him, the world would be a much poorer place.

When we look with dismay at the deaths around the world, let us not simply count the deaths piling up, but respect and honour the lives lost: each one precious to God; each one meaning the world to someone.

Jesus once said that God notices even when one sparrow falls to the ground and dies, and then he said, “and you are worth more than many sparrows” – in fact, God counts the hairs on your head!

So, I believe, God cares intimately and deeply for every person who is grieving. He loves your loved one too. God does not count them on charts or graphs, he knows them by name.

Rev. Andy Murphy is a Methodist Minister in Market Harborough, Kibworth and Naseby, and Vice-chair of Churches Together in Harborough.