But by respecting this lock-down, and thinking of others, we are well on the way to beating Covid's power of seeking out new victims.
Stay safe at home in your bubble, and enjoy the extra time of peace as we focus on that first Easter. Please pray for those on the 'front line' of essential services. My three sons are all involved in these, so their families are at increased risk even within their home 'bubbles'.
God is with us in our predicament; He will never leave us or forsake us. A promise from our Bibles: "This too, will pass!" In times of testing, God is growing qualities in his children; resilience, perseverance, patience and determination. We will look back on these challenging times and, with perspective of time and distance, see that God was working in us to mold us and shape us to His perfect will for our lives.
This will be an Easter different from all others. Physical Church buildings will remain empty. I can recall this happening in the late 1940s and early 1950s when Poliomyelitis struck New Zealand, causing widespread closures of schools, (from Christmas until after the Easter break;) churches, meetings, gatherings, swimming pools, parks etc were closed; and the inter-island connection was broken as ferries were forbidden to move freely. During these epidemics, coming so soon after WW2, many goods were still not available; or were restricted still under war-time rationing. Our country was fearful of this terrible Polio curse that caused disabilities, and muscular wasting, Many spent years in the dreaded 'iron lung' which breathed for them, keeping withering bodies alive. There were also hundreds of deaths. Families with a polio patient had to stay in quarantine, flying a flag warning that they were 'unclean.' Kindly grocers, fishermen and other vendors would collect necessary goods for isolated families, and drop them at the gate; to be paid for when the epidemic was over. While young children regarded polio as a bonus extra holiday, it was a huge burden on families and medical and educational ministries. Being such a resilient little country, Kiwis swung into gear, helping each other and respecting the restrictions rapidly put in place.
The education of all children was paramount. Those were the days where fixed telephones were not in many homes. The 'red box' on street corners was the main contact with the world. People saved their copper pennies for precious 3 minute phone-calls with family members. We had no such devices as TVs, smart phones or computers. Most homes had a big old clunky radio called the wireless; and the Ministry of Education had one possible way of reaching at-home students. That was the Correspondence School, which provided home- schooling programmes for remote farming families who were unable to get to schools. They geared up magnificently, and soon produced up to 40 lessons a week, over the good old radio. Meanwhile these completed work assignments were posted in, or delivered to schools; where teachers spent many hours reading and marking 'homework,' and parents collected the marked papers from school. This was mostly by bicycle, as no buses were running.
So we have 'form', Kiwis! We have adapted to crises before. In this last decade, we've dealt with terrifying earthquakes, volcanic eruptions. terror attacks, massive floods and destructive wildfires. We
have rallied and responded; helping each other through these turbulent times. We remain vulnerable in our active and restless land-mass. Every generation can learn from those who have guided us through past events; and our responsibility is to ensure that we are well prepared to handle future crises. We must be alert, act wisely, and work WITH nature's forces rather than exploit them and disrupt echo-system; by greedy grabbing of riches. We need to respect God's Creation; It is His gift for all living species, for all time. We are given the privilege of being stewards of His world, and He expects us to take that responsibility seriously .
So, while we are under such restricted living conditions, from the Covid virus, let's observe how creation is responding. With fewer vehicles commuting on roads, at sea and in the sky, our air is clearing of daily pollution which had previously been rising rapidly. Birds are singing more in urban areas, rivers are running more cleanly as pollutants from various businesses are reduced. We have so much to be thankful for.
Today is Maundy Thursday; when we remember Jesus' last meal with His disciples, trying to prepare them for the horror to come in the next few days.
Let's honour His plea to them "Do this in remembrance of Me."