Milverton
John Davies Dean of Wells

Letter from the Dean of Wells

What does love require?

Having heard the announcement about the latest lockdown, I walked over to the Cathedral. I sat at the back and looked up at the Cross in the Nave. A question welled up as I sat: ‘what does love require in the cold climate of Covid?’, with empty streets, people shut in, schools and businesses closed.

Like many clergy I have a list of people to lift with a phone call or email. Everyone can of course ring neighbours and friends and family. And offer a word, distanced, in the street; a wave to a window; a card through a letterbox.

My neighbour is those I know and care for. But Christ teaches that my neighbour is also on the streets, needy and destitute. Foodbanks and charities need urgent assistance in a cold climate where indifference is not unknown.

It might be quite simple: shopping, love taking us to the supermarket. It might be conversation: love says listen as they pour it all out. It might be a bit more complicated. My neighbour might be disabled – is practical help needed? My neighbour might be held as a slave at a car wash. How do I discreetly ask? When do I alert the Clewer initiative? My neighbour may be gay, does love ask me to affirm or keep a distance? My neighbours may be black. How do I show my belief that black lives really matter?

Love can be very active in the cold climate of today. But love needs replenishing. Love becomes brittle and bossy if it is given but not received. Love means that I must be open to others, for they may want to love me and be a neighbour to me by loving me.

God is love, so in the cold climate of Covid, when community is weakened, let us give and receive love. And the coldness will vanish because love has come to stay.

John Davies
Dean of Wells