In life before lockdown we rushed around in our busy, personal worlds with scarcely a thought for all that goes into the smooth running of each day. Only when things went wrong did we become aware of the contribution of others to our daily lives. Over the months we have learned there is a nameless army of people on whom we regularly depend. As I listened to the early morning newscaster discussing the lot of sailors who, involved with the regular delivery of food to our island, were suffering emotional distress due to their long isolation, I was startled to realise that here was yet another service to which I gave no thought.
I‘m reminded of a description of the hidden effort behind a traditional English breakfast. The farmer who grew the grain from which the bread and cereal were made, the people in other places who grew the tea, or harvested the coffee beans. The providers of sugar, milk, eggs, bacon, perhaps mushrooms, tomatoes, marmalade, or jam. The description ended by listing “…the people who [provided] them, the sailors who carried them across the sea, the transport workers who brought them along the roads and the railways, the people in the factories who manufactured them, the shopkeepers who sold them…” [William Barclay]. I find it sobering to know we are dependent upon so many people of whom we have never heard.
There’s an intriguing expression in the Old Testament which depicts David as being “bound in the bundle of life” [1 Samuel 25:29 KJ21]. It fascinates me, becoming clearer and sweeter as I understand more. We are linked in dependence to a nameless host who share our life.
In the history of the Church, there are hundreds of well-known ‘warriors of the faith’ who have spearheaded understanding, change and even revival. As believers, we are connected to them and, equally, interlinked with a multitude of nameless men and women who have gone before us. Today, there are millions around our world whose names we don’t know and whose voices we haven’t heard, but we are bound together in this bundle of life! We are part of an amazing support system.