Corona Crisis

Sunday 29th March

Corona Crisis

(Read Isaiah 26 and Matthew 6 vs 5-13)

So how are the self-isolation and social distancing going in your home?

‘Cabin fever’ hasn’t hit us too badly yet, though to date both cars are washed, the garden fence is repainted and my wife has washed every garment in the house and rearranged the kitchen cupboards.  New tunes are being learnt and old board games exhumed.  So far, so good!

We can laugh and humour is one coping mechanism to help us through these challenging times, along with patience, courage and public spirited kindness.

And faith? Where does that come in, if at all?

Christians are grateful that we can bring our concerns to God.  In His great Sermon on the Mount our Master encouraged His followers to bring our requests to ‘Our Father in Heaven’, confident He already knows and cares about our needs.  Here’s what He says, ‘When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father Who is unseen.  Then your Father Who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’  (Matthew 6 v 6)

Jesus was saying this by way of contrast to some religious people He called ‘hypocrites’ who made prayer like a performance to gain admiration from their fans.  While it’s good to gather together when we can to worship and pray it’s also something we all need to do daily at home.  Just listening to someone else repeat nice words is no substitute for each of us humbly bringing our own personal concerns before the Lord.

Now it’s often the case that people in the New Testament are echoing something said or written in the Old Testament and this is an example.  Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6 v 6 includes a phrase almost word for word that was written 700 years before by the prophet Isaiah (ch26 v 20).  Here’s what Isaiah said, ‘Go my people into your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until (God’s) wrath has passed by.’

Isaiah ch26, like so much of Scripture has a kind of ‘twin track’ going on.  On the one hand it contains solemn warning for those who stubbornly disregard God and His commands.  Judgement is coming!

But on the other, this passage contains tender assurance for those who trust in God, that even though we have not always pleased or served Him fruitfully, He will bring about new life and security.  The trouble will pass.  We are promised an inheritance in ‘the new Jerusalem’.  Therefore, even in our present trouble we can pray using Isaiah’s words with thanks, ‘You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.’  (Isaiah 6 v 3)

At the moment we don’t have much choice, we’re all stuck indoors for fear of catching corona virus.  It’s serious times when all people of faith should be earnestly praying to God for grace and mercy on His world.  But every challenge brings an opportunity and perhaps, if we are willing to ‘hide ourselves’ in our homes for these next weeks, spending extra time humbly praying to God, we might emerge with greater peace and more – new life through Jesus Christ the Lord!

Amen

Church Service

EVERY SUNDAY
at 10.30 am
During July and August, the service will begin at 10.15 am and tea/coffee will be served afterwards.