A sense of humour can be an antidote sometimes. A sense of what is holy can also help. And don’t we need it?
By March COVID-19 had well and truly arrived and with it a heightened sense of uncertainty, anxiety, and downright fear. There is only so much comfort that can be obtained from an ample supply of toilet paper and online entertainment. With all due respect to Netflix and YouTube, creature comforts fail to fill the vacuum social distancing and isolation creates.
“With all due respect to Netflix and YouTube, creature comforts fail to fill the vacuum social distancing and isolation creates.”
Meeting each week with Christian friends at church often brings a sense of security through the love of a fellowshipping community but, in a COVID-19 world, church gatherings can spread the very virus everyone hopes they will avoid.
Things are not totally bleak
Yet despite the dark and trying times, we are discovering it isn’t totally bleak.
The introduction of social distancing, the cancellation of community activities and the closure of church buildings have introduced us, in a very short time, to a wide range of alternative church activities in-home and online. I have been thrilled to discover some people have come to faith in Jesus. Others have “attended” a church service for the first time (or for the first time in a long time). A friend said to me, “It’s easy when the sermon is preached right in my living room. I can even watch in my pyjamas”.
“...[the Archbishop] recorded a video message...then broadcast the service on YouTube and about 22,000 people went online to watch!”
Mind you, Easter was upon us. How do you do Easter online? Would it work? Could it work? In the Hills district in Sydney’s northwest a mission had been planned that was going to culminate in an Easter Day open-air celebration of (hopefully) 6000 people. The Archbishop was to be the speaker. In the end he recorded a video message, St Paul’, Castle Hill broadcast the service on YouTube and about 22,000 people went online to watch! Channel 9Gem took a service from St Andrew’s Cathedral and the Dean proclaimed Christ via the free-to-airwaves across the whole nation.
Small activities can bring about great things
Zoom prayer meetings, families studying the Scriptures, singing hymns, discussing spiritual topics, storytelling, sharing virtual meals – all of these have helped church communities to continue to worship God together.
Small actions such as wisely washing hands and surfaces can make a big difference to the spread of the virus. Likewise, in a faithful church home, small activities can help bring about great things.
Significant blessings and benefits can come from small but sincere actions that can be done in the home and online. Gathering regularly for prayer; spending just a few minutes reading from and discussing the Bible each day; listening to each other’s thoughts, feelings, and concerns with an open mind and a compassionate heart; and working with friends to serve others who are in need. It’s not all bleak.
By the way, if you do happen to see a bloke in a black robe carrying a sickle, fear not, he is probably just looking for some toilet paper.