Last year, and the year before last, I remember driving to test against COVID-19. A drive through motorways and alleyways. Booked appointments, showing codes, receiving testing kits, performing the test and giving it back. Waiting anxiously for the results, all of them negative at the time.
Admiring the sheer infrastructure created for testing. In no time, public venues, mostly car parks, were invaded with trucks and marquees. Volunteers swarmed. And here we were, circulating in queues, faces down, sometimes chatty, some other times silent. Vaccination for me went smoothly. First time, second time, booster time. This last one at a church, where the normal assembly was replaced.
The power of assembly. Our power as communities to come together in times of need. Or in times of festivity. A school fayre, a footie tournament, these last two I have just experienced. At some point in time, if there is any time to bear when the assembly calls us and we are there, things feel quiet. They feel solemn, they feel slow. We get there, we take part, we then leave.
Perhaps we need to cultivate this power bit more. Now that we are together again, it is time to remember what keeps us together, what binds us together. A couple of minutes or a couple of hours. Some sense of communion in between. A ritual enacted perhaps. Remembering, evoking, connecting.