2nd April 2020

Lockdown!

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!”
Psalm 84:1 (NRSV)

It’s Week 2 of the UK Lockdown due to the Coronavirus. I’m already worn out! The uncertainty of the next few weeks and its wider impact have been like a breach within a dam. Emails are flowing in at a greater rate than I have capacity to deal with. Working from home has not been easy; especially as I’m only supposed to leave it once a day – twice if I also plan in a trip to the nearest supermarket. Though the word ‘super’ in supermarket no longer seems relevant, with its many depleted shelves.

I’ve had tough weeks before, but the Lockdown has thrown in a challenge like no other. The oasis of the week, church, is off. Two weekends have now passed where church was closed and who knows how many more weeks of cancellation are left. I miss church. I miss the opportunity to worship God with others; to hear the Spirit of God speaking through the songs and the message and to fellowship with the servants of the Lord.

Difficult times lay ahead. The season of reflection upon the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord is near. Yet, the signs are that the church will not be able to gather together to focus on Christ’s passion. I understand the emotions of the psalmist who wrote: “My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD” (Psalm 84:2).

In the early church, Christians reached out through the communication channel of the day – the written letter. Exiled on Patmos, the Apostle John wrote to 7 churches; letters that are now combined within the Book of Revelation. Paul also wrote to churches while in prison. Today, I find myself reaching out to others – with good friends bringing encouragement to me – through a multitude of channels. I have been blessed by watching sermons on the GCI UK YouTube channel*. Thank God for the many ways in which we can have contact in this time of isolation!

The crucifixion of Jesus plunged the disciples into dark despair. But they were given renewed hope by his resurrection. Hope that reminds us that God redeems all things, even times that may seem too difficult to bear. I like to think that this hope is found in Psalm 84: “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts” (verse 3). Even the sparrow finds a home. God has not forgotten us. He will redeem all things.

Prayer
We praise you, Father, for your blessings in this difficult time. Thank you for those who have reached out to us through letters, emails and social media. We pray with intent, looking forward to when we may all gather together again at church. Thank you for the hope you give us in Jesus.
Amen

Study by Ian Woodley

*GCI Youtube Channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCatCYu14mV9jvYr5GanDO6w or check for current streaming link at www.gracecom.church
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About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of Grace Communion International, UK.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EDINBURGH
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church

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