Who wants to live in a bubble?

My wife runs a pre-school and it was recently proposed to her that when the children return they could spend the day in zorb balls to ensure social distancing – not a serious suggestion!

Sticking with the spherical theme, one of the ideas touted in the lead up to Boris Johnson’s statement on Sunday about gradually relaxing the lockdown was that each of us should choose a “bubble” – a small network of family and friends with whom we may be in physical contact.

The bubble would become our effective household unit and we would commit to sticking exclusively within that one group. Whether this is a genuinely workable solution remains to be seen; significant questions include how the government could effectively enforce such a system.

Almost everyone involved in the current lockdown recognises that being deprived of social contact is one of its most difficult aspects. Not being able to see friends and family is a huge challenge for most people and affects our well-being.

Our God is a relational being; he has always existed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in relationship together. Thus, in making human beings in his own image we are also relational creatures. This is why being deprived of the option to connect beyond our immediate family is so important to us.

The relational bubble option is also fraught with potential problems:  Who will I choose to be in my particular bubble? Who will choose me to be in theirs? Will my choice disappoint those I leave out? Will I be upset if someone does not choose me? Will we create harmony or division? Relationships are at times competitive due to our insecurities. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve we have been looking over our shoulders, wondering who our friends are and concerned about how we rank in other people’s estimation.

So this is a great time to remind ourselves that our desire for secure relationships can only be met ultimately in Christ as he brings us to himself and also into a very big relational group – the church. And this is a bubble that will not burst.

Graham Nicholls is Director of Affinity


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