I’m writing from a very quiet office, knowing the Cathedral will be just as quiet on Sunday. That makes me quite sad. Meeting weekly for church, youth group, or growth group is not just ‘what we do’; it’s who we are as God’s people.
And I’m sure we’re not only missing gathering together, but we’re probably feeling a bit lost, out of whack with routines, and perhaps our faith as well…
Last year during lockdown, I preached on one of my favourite passages in the Bible, Hebrews 10:19-25. It speaks about having Jesus as our advocate, so we can have confidence to come to God. Therefore we can draw near to him and also spur one another on towards love and good deeds. So we need to encourage one another… certainly as the day of the Lord approaches but also for lockdown 2.0, all the more as we are not physically together!
How can we do that? I think we know the drill, but just to refresh you: Zoom Bible studies and 1-1’s, walks to get fresh air, stay fit and encourage one another in the faith. We are so blessed to be able to have Church via Livestream and Zoom gatherings too; praise God.
But how’s it going in the household you are in right now? In our house, it’s one day at a time at present… With 3 sons under 10 who are a little noisy, messy and very active, I note that the great philosopher and actor, Will Ferrell said, “Having 3 sons is like running a miniature correctional institution”. This is not far from the truth… What we are trying to do is (1) short Bible readings with dinner and (2) prayers in bed. The boys are also into burning stuff at the moment, so we try to do things around a home campfire as well (read bonfire)!
Last week I went to the Youthworks website for COVID resources for families. I re-visited the ‘555 challenge’, which we promoted last year at St Mick’s. Now there’s also the ‘Kids Pray’ resource which I downloaded, for FREE. We are giving these resources a crack these holidays, here is the link to get them yourselves: https://youthworks.net/coronavirus-resources/#family
Looking ahead to term 3, Lord willing, we are out of lockdown and progressing back to normal life. With that in mind, can I encourage, urge, implore everyone to get back to Church, growth groups, youth and kids’ ministries as soon as they are back on. Within health limits, don’t delay!
I know we are keen to get our kids back to school, sport, etc. But can church and the groups for kids and youth be the highest priority, every week?!?!
Kim and I have talked with our sons about this as sometimes they are not keen to go to Kids’ Church. We explain to them that being a Christian is the most important thing; and that you can’t do the Christian life by yourself and keep going well. You need your Christian mates and they need you, so we are going every week, no matter if there’s sport on, if you don’t feel like, you’re tired or whatever, we gotta go!
To the youth group crew and their parents, I’m always saying that when you miss a few weeks, it turns into a few more. Before you know it, you’ve barely been all term or even year. We must not underestimate how easy it is for us to slip and fall in our faith.
We need each other. When we return, make the commitment, all of us (health permitting), to be there for each other, for yourself, for your brothers and sisters in Christ, every week!
[P.S. Here are some helpful verses: Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 11:19, 6:7, Psalm 86:11, Psalm 78:1-8.]