It’s time for us to be:
Prayerful - take time with God and rest our future in the One who knows what’s ahead.
It’s time to pray for those in authority - they are having to make some hard decisions amid many pressures. It’s time to pray for the health and strength of our NHS workers. It’s time to pray for those who are sick. Our prayers are powerful so let’s talk about praying less and actually commit to do it more.
Salt and light - and show loving generosity rather than selfishness.
Fear is making people want for themselves and their families. It’s understandable, but not how we need to be. The world of the generous gets larger and larger (proverbs 11:24) as John Kirkby loves to remind us! We can favour others and be blessed in doing so.
How can we share the blessings/toilet rolls we have? Do we know our neighbours? Now is your opportunity to say, ‘Hello, it’s a bit of a strange time with this virus - here’s my number, give me a ring if you need anything, won’t you?’
Wise - and take on board the official advice and follow it.
In helping others, let’s be sensible remembering all the distancing and handwashing advice so we don’t put the NHS under unnecessary strain.
Fear is making many people angry and keen to blame others. This isn’t a time for finger pointing. We can be graceful and forgiving, even when we don’t agree.
Young people - now is your time to shine! As the least seriously affected group, your parents and grandparents may well need your skills. Do you know the basics, if you’re called upon to make some meals and put some washing on? Get a bit of practice in. Be ready to take lots of drinks to the doorway of any family member with a fever, they won’t want to come out of their room and put you at risk.
Hopeful - ready to celebrate and talk about the good around us.
Let’s find some courage through our knowledge that our God is in charge - not the virus.
God is no less good now than before the virus hit and is still as deserving of our praises. Focus on the good we see around us and share knowledge that builds one another up.
What will help us continue to connect with others at this time, even if remotely? Do we have phone numbers of people in our congregation? Can we use the internet to pray together or study the Bible or create a remote book club? Live streaming church looks like a great way to keep that message of hope flowing.
Thoughtful - in a way that says to someone, ‘I see your situation’.
It’s time for us to consider those who don’t have the finance or convenience of the internet, are fearful, unwell or whose job situation is fragile and those without a support network. For people who live with domestic violence, the days ahead might be very difficult.
Now is the time to offer shopping for older people or those with health issues who are scared to go out. Might they need prescriptions to be picked up, for example? Let’s make sure no one is overlooked on our street.
Neither be fearful nor flippant - it’s a serious situation but we will get through it.
Is there someone you know who is a regular carer for a relative? They may need a plan B for that relative, if the carer starts to get symptoms. Could you step in?
It’s a really good opportunity to honour our older or disabled friends. Not all the narrative has been helpful - they need to feel as loved and cherished as they really are.
Let’s not neglect ourselves in all this either. We must stay close to God and his word, he will lead us through the next few weeks. Psalm 46 is a great place to start.
The Chief Medical Officer’s team said that the virus does not survive outside very well. Perhaps we might spend some more time outdoors, appreciating creation and soaking up some time with God.
Above all, the peace of God is the peace that passes all understanding. When nothing else makes sense - He does. He is our peace.