I saw an interesting story in the news today about Russian diplomats returning home from North Korea with their families and luggage facing a problem getting over the border. North Korea has stopped all trains going in or out of the country as Coronavirus-prevention measures. So the diplomats travelled on a train and bus to near the border, and then for the last kilometre they sat in a rail trolley and the former third secretary at the embassy pushed the trolley along and over the border. Like a lot of stories involving humanity, you couldn’t make it up! It reflects an ages-old human experience: for every rule there are situations where exceptions have to be made. We find it here with the rules linked to lockdown: people from different households are not supposed to mix indoors, but exceptions are needed where children or adults need care; schools were closed, but for the good of all it was better that the children of key workers and vulnerable children could still go to school; and so on. Sometimes it is easy to identify where exceptions are needed, easy to agree to them, and there is little disagreement in the wider population. In other cases it is less easy to agree where exceptions should be made, and after decisions are made there are critical voices
Lord, it is much easier if rules are clear and unequivocal, but when such an approach is adopted, there are always cases where for reasons of health, safety, ‘fairness’, etc exceptions need to be made. That can cause all sorts of problems, and is a challenge facing everyone from lawmakers in Parliament, to families at home. Help us all to think carefully when we make rules, and when we make exceptions, to understand the implications of what we are doing
PS A week today is the World Day of Prayer. There will not be a local service this year, but there will be a national online one on Zoom. If you would like to be part of that, contact Ian Johnson or Susan Anderson, and they will send you the link
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