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Sonia’s article in February’s Diary January 26, 2021

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
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Mamma Mia, here we go again. Lockdown, mustn’t now resist you. (Apologies to Abba)

The following was written by The Rev’d Dr Malcolm Guite in the Church Times, 8th January. I think it perfectly sums up how many of us are feeling.

‘This is the time of year, in any year, when we might reflect a little ruefully, a little wistfully, on the passage of time. And this year, especially, we might find ourselves wanting to hasten its passage, as we yearn and strain towards the day when the vaccines have been dispensed, when the lockdown is lifted, when the longed-for return of spring and, after it, of summer might not only loosen the frozen rivers and open out the coming buds, but might also unfreeze our chilled lives, unlock our sheltered houses and hearts, and set us free once more for all those loving and affectionate encounters for which we are made; when we might no longer be condemned to see each other in the dark glass and dim reflections of our Zoom screens, but really and joyfully meet one another face to face.’

All last year the BBC ran a series of programmes to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven. The very last extract in the final programme was strangely topical. The Prisoners’ Chorus from the opera Fidelio.

Here the central character is a man called Florestan. He has been jailed on a trumped-up charge, and is being kept in a dark cell. But the true hero is this man’s wife, Leonora, who has disguised herself as a servant called Fidelio, meaning Faithful. Eventually she succeeds in getting the authorities to release the rest of the prisoners in the jail, letting them enjoy a brief walk in the sunlight. Here are the words they sing, as they emerge from their lockdown:

‘Oh what joy, in the open air

Freely to breathe again!

Up here alone is life,

The dungeon is a grave.

We shall with all our faith

Trust in the help of God.

Hope whispers softly in my ears:

We shall be free, we shall find peace.’

Many blessings, Sonia
07747 844265

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