When I was growing up, and for many years after the Berlin Wall was one of those fixed points in life. Always there, a visible symbol of the post-war division between East and West, manifest not just within a country but a city. I sometimes thought of going to see it but never got round to it and then suddenly one day it was gone.
In the aftermath of the wall being opened there was a short lived debate between those who wanted to preserve some of it and those who wanted it gone completely. Nearly all of it was torn down and rapidly built on. The piece above is part of a museum but mostly it has gone.
This is Checkpoint Charlie, where at one point American and Russian tanks faced off against each other for a very tense 16 hours. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/24/berlin-crisis-standoff-checkpoint-charlie. (The link tells the story) It is now a normal shopping street and when we were there the rumour was that the whole area was going to be brought up by an American hotel chain. The one enduring memorial is the metal strip in the road pictured below which shows the site of the wall throughout the city
There is no direct comparison between our current situation and the Berlin Wall, but I offer it as a parable of something that looked horrible and threatening and kept people apart from one another. It seemed to be going on forever and then one day it was gone. The Coronavirus won’t just go, but at some stage the restrictions we are living under will ease and life will gradually return to a new normal. But maybe we need to put down some markers, so that we don’t forget too quickly; the fragility of our way of life and the provisionality of what we take for granted.
In response to a request I enclose the link to my church Facebook page, as I am going to be live streaming the Palm Sunday service from there at 10.00 on Sunday. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/High-Oak-Hingham-429396720821739/?epa=SEARCH_BOX I have never done this before so I am a bit anxious so please be gentle, but then we are all having to do new things right now.