Don't let anyone tell you you're in a 'solo bubble!'
God will never leave us or forsake us! We are definitely with Him in a safe 'double bubble'.
We can access lots of good encouraging material to tide us over. We are so blessed to have computers, TVs, radios and the brilliant teaching of such saints as David Jeremiah & Nicky Gumbell. We have access to books and media coverage of our new realities. God's word is freely available in this country, and we are surrounded by lovely parks and open spaces. We are not cooped up in crowded high-rise buildings. Both Nativity Church and our wider diocese have messages and services for us
to access in our isolation. (I prefer to call it solitude, or 'time out with God')
Kathy Taylor's doing a great job with our Easter Meditations on Nativity's website. I've pledged a story a day to encourage families through this 'lock down' phase. Do look them up. They will provoke your thoughts and are prepared 'for such a time as this' (Esther.) Make the most of this uninterrupted time to cosy up with God. He's got our attention! This tiny, insignificant virus has flattened arrogant world
leaders, closed down vastly rich and mighty commerce, ordered much of the world into isolation, without any respect of status or wealth of those who are infected.
Let's seek out the good things in this time. "In everything give thanks" (Not FOR everything, but IN everything.) Ponder the blessings in our unexpected (and probably unwanted) situations. I thank God for peace from rumbling trains which disturb sleep; pollution from non-stop traffic on Grove Road; I'm so grateful for Family help with bits of shopping, and daily walking of my energetic Retriever Honey with their equally boisterous Dexter. Little Sammy and I walk alone, and the Opaua River is looking cleaner and sparkling in the sun. I enjoy the autumn colours and crinkly leaves. (I have to 'net' them out of the fish pond several times a day!) Without planes screaming overhead taking off and landing, huge flocks of birds offer joyful song from dawn to dust. Like the frequent rumbling passenger trains thundering through with horns blasting, we've been stopped in our tracks - literally! My aviaries of injured birds, broken winged, crippled legged, all depend on me for sustaining life; and bless me with their trust and gentleness. My fur buddies continue to provide me with daily challenges and frequent laughs. Solitary confinement is not what I chose, but widowhood imposed it on me a decade ago; so these wide restrictions are not so challenging or us who are deprived family life in big bubbles. Let's find something new to thank God for every day. Keep your list, and share it with other Christians. You will be amazed at how blessed we are with God's generous provisions.
It's time to sit up and listen to the sounds of nature. Our damaged and dying planet is having a brief respite from destruction; and if we care, we can consider what our selfish greed is causing in the loss of God's created marvels. This is a chance to make major decisions, and find a way of life that respects creation, and still gives us necessary technology, jobs and living arrangements. We, the more fortunate, are being challenged to share from our bounty with countries truly suffering We have seen decades of unwise decisions put on hold, and have a unique opportunity to do things differently. Literally overnight, we've accepted (maybe grudgingly,) huge loss of human rights; and have massive restrictions imposed on us for the greater good of our country, and indeed, our world. Think of how such unity in behaviour could see our world recover safe swimming in our rivers and lakes and reduce the suffering of chronic asthma sufferers made ill by breathing polluted air. Think that we are doing kind things for our community, and our world, both now and into the future.
The joy of Palm Sunday has passed, the mood of the crowd has changed. Now we can walk this lonely path with Jesus as He sets His face towards Jerusalem, in full knowledge of the horrors to come. Keep Him company during this quiet time; being grateful for His rescue of us from sin and certain death.
May God bless you as we travel towards the Cross, the Grave and the Resurrection victory.