What realisations have we had?

14 Nov 2021 by Rev Dr John Squires in: Letters, Thoughts, News

What realisations have we had?

From Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister - Wellbeing

Last year, around this time, a video entitled “The Great Realisation” was the flavour of the month. You can revisit the video at


The video tells a story, set in the future, looking back in the past, to the time in which we now are living today. The premise of the video is that the global pandemic sparked by COVID-19 prompted a wide scale re-evaluation of how we live and what is important for us. The father is talking to his child about how things used to be; but it is clear that 2020 brought significant and long-lasting change, at least to the people in the video.

I wonder how we are doing with regard to that “realisation”, reassessing our familiar patterns, putting in place new practices, developing new customs? Sure, we have been forced to “do things differently” over the last 20 months—but how many of those different ways of doing things will stick, now that we are able to resume in person gatherings, visit all our familiar shops, spend time with friends and family members, return to worship in the church building, and so on?

How many of the ways that we just had to adapt to, will we continue? How quickly will we press to return to the familiar comfort of “the way things used to be”? How much has the great realisation been a reality for us? Or how little?

Are we eager to jump back onto the planes that are now flying, for our holidays, and for business purposes? Will we reckon more carefully with the risks associated with being in close contact with complete strangers for hours at a time, breathing in the same air in the flight cabins? Will we pause to consider the impact that mass flying has one the environment —the added CO2 that contributes to the inexorable rise in global temperatures? To fly, or not to fly?

Likewise, will we resume our annual cruise for leisure and companionship, rushing back to the floating hotels-cum-bistros-cum-casinos that are already advertising their wares once more? Will we reckon on the increased risks fro sharing every facility (no matter how carefully cleaned) and every meal time, with hundreds (if not thousands) of strangers completely unknown to us? The close-by lesson of the Ruby Princess (and a number of other cruise ships, not so immediate) loom large. Or will we consider the fact that the cruising industry is one of the most polluting industries of all, and blithely put that out of our minds?

Will we happily return to the old days when the screen was good for entertainment only, and put aside the time when we worshipped online, took part in Bible Studies online, attended workshops and seminars online— without spending travel time, without using more petrol, without having to find accomodation? Or will we accept that screens can connect us with people with similar interests, with friends that are near to us as well as with experts on the other side of the world? We have entered a new way of conferencing, training, learning; will that hold good in the future?

Andrew is inviting you, this week, to take part in the Act2 process that Assembly is leading, as we consider what shape the Uniting Church might be in the future. Alongside that, let us continue to consider our own personal lifestyles, our personal habits and familiar practices, alongside the new practices and patterns that we have adopted in recent months. In both areas—as individuals, and as members of the faith community that is the Uniting Church—we currently have an opportunity to ensure that our “great realisation” will open new and responsible ways of being into the future. How will you respond?