17th April 2020

Disciples In Lockdown!

“While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father.”
Acts 1:4 (NRSV)

The Holy Spirit inspires us in our understanding and application of scriptures but the context also influences our interpretation. Since going into lockdown I have observed a number of examples in the Bible where people were in isolation including the early disciples in Acts. Are there lessons and encouragement we can draw from this story?

It was a time of uncertainty following the death of Jesus and testing on the fledgling church. They were given instructions by the Holy Spirit who “ordered them not leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise”. They came together in prayer and expectation not knowing what would happen. Furthermore, they were watching and listening to the risen Lord Jesus who appeared to them often until he ascended into heaven.

The Queen said in her address on April 5th, “I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time.”* We can be encouraged that even in lockdown, isolation or distress, Father God embraces us, Jesus abides with us and the Holy Spirit continues to speak. We are assured that confinement does not limit the work of God and we remain ambassadors of God’s grace starting right where we are in our own homes. As believers (even with our doubts) we look to Jesus and reach out to other people in faith.

This is a new phase in world history but also in the work of the Church with the opportunities it presents. People all around the world are realising this is a time “to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.”* Things will never be the same again and we can encounter the hand of God at work as never before. While there are negatives we see the positives of compassion, unity and innovation. “We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us.”*

We need to endure for now in lockdown while still performing our part in that Great Commission – a labour of love. However, we are confident because we have the blessed assurance that in Jesus the next chapter will be the best one. At the right time we will hear heaven’s applause and those awesome words “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner” (Matthew 25:23 Message).

Prayer
Dear Father, thank you for the promise you have given to us. We pray that you inspire and energise us for our work today while in our homes and in the future until we see your Son return in glory. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by David Gibbs

*https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/queens-speech-coronavirus-full-transcript-text-read-a9448531.html

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About the Author:
David Gibbs in an Elder and Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Northern England, the Midlands and Wales.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1:00pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 07777-667635
Email: birmingham@gracecom.church

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