Moments of…

August 10, 2020 · Print This Article

“If you can help tonight, then there’s a number on screen. If you can’t then don’t worry about it, you’ve got enough going on.” That sentence has stood out in my mind ever since I first heard it, uttered by Peter Kay, on the BBC’s Big Night In. I didn’t watch it live, but caught the highlights later on. Aired in April, it now feels like an age ago. Who was to know at the time that the UK Lockdown still had months to go?

Peter Kay makes me laugh. Sometimes, he makes me laugh so hard that I think I’m going to pass out. But the one thought he has left lingering in my mind is the sentence I began with. The Big Night In was all about making money. As the Government matched donations from the public, they actually passed the £67 million mark. Wow! Of course, it was all for good causes, with a large chunk going to help those significantly affected by the Covid-19 situation. But Peter Kay’s message highlighted an awareness that not everyone could give. It had the ring of grace around it; a genuine acceptance of everyone watching, whatever our backgrounds, learning or achievements.

I am always pleasantly surprised by such moments of grace. I don’t know if Peter Kay considers himself a religious man, but such grace does feel as if something spiritual has just crept up from behind and tapped me on the shoulder. Forgive me if you think that it is unseasonably early to mention school nativity plays, but such grace pops up in our traditional Christmas story. Some shepherds are invited to meet the baby Jesus. We’re so used to the story that we don’t even blink at the idea. (Sounds like something that Peter Kay would invent! But I digress.) The shepherds had no gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh like later visitors. Compared to the wise men, they probably had little education or influence. The only qualification for them being there was that they happened to be in the neighbourhood. But they were invited into the story anyway; a moment of grace in the shepherds’ lives.

Moments of grace are rare; I can confidently say that because every such event I’m aware of has stood out as something unusual. They flow against the normal activity of life; I do not expect to wake up tomorrow and find any stories of grace among the news headlines. So how about it?

Let’s follow the philosophy of Peter Kay and keep open the door of grace for those who have “enough going on” right now. It is risky; we have no idea who might wander through that door. But if it is a true moment of grace, with that wonderful tap on the shoulder – well, I truly believe we won’t regret it.

Ian Woodley

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