I was uplifted by watching BBC 1’s Together at Home concert on Sunday evening. And it wasn’t only because of the contributions of the music celebrities who filmed themselves performing at home, although it was great to see so many famous singers seated informally at their piano, keyboard or guitar, accompanying themselves in the way that some of us might do in our own sitting room.
The best aspect of the programme was hearing the stories of “ordinary” people (who should be re-named extraordinary people) who are working on the frontline in this pandemic to keep us alive and flourishing. They work in care homes, in hospitals, in schools; they are delivering our post and parcels, stacking the shelves in supermarkets, responding to emergency calls as paramedics, collecting our rubbish, and performing many other jobs which have not previously been valued or remunerated appropriately because society values fame and celebrity over commitment and service. We even heard about people living apart from their families in order to be able to continue in their key roles and minimise the risk of spreading disease.
Towards the end of the concert there was a special recording performed by Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga and John Legend, accompanied by world-famous virtuoso pianist Lang Lang, with the parts individually recorded in their own homes and brought together by modern technology. The words of the song expressed a deep-felt prayer which many of us might want to offer.
‘Let this be my prayer’
I pray you’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go
And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know.
Let this be our prayer when we lose our way
Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.
And another thought struck me as I watched this. All the famous celebrities throughout the two hour programme were expressing their love and gratitude to the thousands of key workers who continue to serve all of us in the face of personal risk and danger. And as the stars voiced their appreciation on behalf of us all, it set me thinking about how society needs to change in the future and remunerate the unsung contributions of everyday workers more fairly in comparison to rewarding the rich and famous. The words of Jesus to his disciples (when they argued about which one of them was the greatest and the most important) came to mind. Jesus told his followers, “Those who have authority over others are called ‘very important’. But you must not be like that. The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the leader should be like the one who serves” (Luke Chapter 22, verses 24-26). In future, let’s reward more generously those who serve out of the spotlight.
Sarah Bourne – 22nd April 2020 email@example.com