A lonely feeling – Look, See, Pray

Lonely 097150219 Hotham Pk

Walking in the park a while ago I saw these last two beech leaves hanging on- and looking lonely. Since then life has been changed by the onslaught of a novel virus which is dangerous because humans have no natural immunity. To stop the pandemic becoming a plague, we are all being told to keep our distance from others; the most vulnerable are having to isolate themselves as completely as possible.

This isn’t about curing the virus: simply about reducing the spread of infection so the expected surge of serious cases is slowed down (so that intensive care beds/ventilators are available).

Some people are going to feel very lonely. Attempts have to made to ensure essential supplies get to where they are needed: and it will take a community response to achieve this.

Our church worshipped this morning by broadcasting online, and a load of us watched and commented. It was good, but obviously not the same as meeting face-to-face. We are working on other ways to support and encourage those who can’t join online. We will do our best to help defeat loneliness.

Our personal faith will be tested to maintain our fellowship with God. Feeding the flames will require discipline and devotion. (Writing these reflections is one thing that helps me stay in touch. Unless my spirit is being nourished, I’ll quickly run out of things to share.)

I have one question to ponder- and would value any comment or feedback. As a Christian, trusting in God as my Lord and Saviour, am I responding to this crisis out of fear or faith?

Some have refused to close their church buildings and boldly declared that the virus will not touch them. I think they are wrong. Not because I doubt the power of God to do whatever He chooses to do, but because we surely have a collective responsibility to our community. If my refusal to restrict my freedom means I catch and transmit the virus, am I not causing harm to others and therefore not loving them?

Tricky… because I am duty-bound to share the good news of Jesus, and demonstrate a Christ-like lifestyle, and to believe and trust that Christ is victor over sin, sickness, and death.

Death is a topic many of us avoid thinking about. The bottom line is that human life ends in dying. Am I afraid of death? No… although the process of dying is not a happy thought. And I don’t think human beings should rush recklessly to death by taking unnecessary risks. To give my life is one thing, to waste it is another. What do you think?

Christianity claims that Death has been overcome by Jesus in His crucifixion and resurrection. Easter, just a short time away, will be our celebration of this. I look forward to it.

Right now, being separated from family, friends and church is horrible. I thank God for Juliet who is putting up with me as we try to keep each other going.

One thing we can do is PRAY. Especially for the ones we know will have that horrible lonely feeling. And for all the key workers in society from NHS to retail staff and farmers.

Church is, of course, the PEOPLE. Not their building. This people-church will continue to worship, love, and serve. Our ways to do it are for the moment at least quite different.

Who can I love, help, pray for? Can I be creative about it?

Final thought: those lonely leaves are about to be overtaken by Spring. Life has NOT come to an end. Because God is faithful, and still in control.

May the Lord keep you, bless you, and turn His face towards you, and hold you in His peace.

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