DAY 6: Tuesday 25 March GOD DOES CARE
Good morning everyone
As we enter the 2nd phase of enforced restrictions, let us carefully observe the social distancing rules and isolation rules for the protection of those most vulnerable. Thank you to everyone who is caringly phoning around and keeping us encouraged, and to those of you who are sorting out shopping for the housebound.
Last Tuesday just before the national crisis began to escalate, I received an email from Rico Tice, evangelist from All Souls Church, Langham Place (nextdoor to BBC Centre in London). He headed the team that created the Christianity Explored series of courses several years ago. You may remember our local Churches Together group ran the Christianity Explored course at Falcon Lodge Methodist Church a few years back and in our Chapel Sunday services in 2018 we used videos from a follow-up course - Discipleship Explored.
Anyway, Rico’s email last week was as follows –
As ever yesterday I was trying to finish my morning Bible reading on the Tube. Sadly, in this secular society, contrary to the call of Jesus in Mark 8:38 to not be “ashamed of me or my words”, I always feel a little embarrassed to get my Bible out and be reading it in public. Well, not yesterday, not in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak. The new confidence I felt was pretty overwhelming.
How this pandemic has taken us back to basics! There are so many ways of interpreting what’s going on but surely one is that our idols have been taken from us, so that we now have to focus on our souls. So many good things that had become God things have been removed: Six Nations rugby and the Premiership, meeting in cafes and restaurants for meals, the health and the gyms that we take for granted, economic prosperity.
All these gifts: sport, health, prosperity, family have been treated as givens. Well, no longer. And our prayer is that like the Prodigal Son in the midst of a famine our friends, loved ones, colleagues and relations will “come to their senses” (Luke 15:17), and will say to themselves, “How could I have been so blind and ungrateful?”
But here is the issue, in the midst of this crisis we have to keep praying that we and others will keep making the move from seeing ourselves as victims to realising that we are primarily rebels. That is why Jesus had to come and die, because we have constantly treated his gifts as givens. The question is will we come to our senses and allow this pandemic to reveal our idolatry?
Challenging thoughts and God’s command is that we should have ‘no other Gods apart from Him’. But even we as the people who call ourselves ‘Children of God’ it is so easy for us to fail. When times are good we enjoy what we want; but when times get hard we wrap ourselves up in blankets of self-pity and fear. A question being asked across the world is ‘why is God allowing this to happen?’ Well, perhaps we have become too complacent about God and now this is His loving way of saying to us, and to the rest of the world, ‘I’m still here and I still care!’.
Something to ponder – God created the world and after each stage of the Creation God said ‘it was good’. At the completion of all Creation God said ‘it was very good’. So, is God concerned about human activities that cause global warming and pollution that is destroying what He created? Is God allowing this pandemic to begin the process of repair and healing of our planet, and is God’s desire that all humanity be drawn back to Him? What do you think? you may think differently in which case do let me know.
I mentioned at the top of this email about the Discipleship Explored series that we ran at the Chapel a couple of years ago. I know so many of you enjoyed that series at the time so here’s the first of those videos for you to watch again. Open your Bible at Philippians chapter 1 then click the link below
I’m not aware of any other urgent news to share today, so keep up the good work of phoning around. Make sure your conversations are helpful and encouraging.
I have been asked to put more Hymnalong songs in coming days but I need to better understand my technology to make it work easier. Karen has said that I’ve got 12 weeks at home to complete useful jobs, and in between, to learn something new, so I’ll have a go!
Bless you all
Wesley & Karen