I’ve done it more than once.  Putting out the bins, I take a longer look at the cars parked outside the house down the street. I’m out for a run and pass a playground that looks packed with families. Or even worse, I’m riding my bike along the one section of bike track I can’t avoid, and there are dogs, prams and walkers with headphones getting in my way. I’m pretty sure these people are doing the ‘wrong thing’.

Lockdown presents a variety of challenges for each of us. As a lover of rules and order – wanting to make sure I’m doing the ‘right thing’ – worrying about what other people are up to was initially a challenge for me. It was the way lockdown was meant to work. We do the right thing and stay home. The case numbers go down and lockdown is over. Hooray! But it hasn’t worked out that way. While I’ve figured out click-and-collect, embraced supporting local business (i.e. takeaway dinners), and ordered essentials from KMart, cases continue to climb.

So I have taken this time to attempt to cultivate a spirit of generosity. I don’t know for sure, but the extra cars down the street might be two sets of parents sharing custody and trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for their kids. The families at the park may be overstretched parents finding some little relief from the competing demands of work and family. I have found it helpful to give others the benefit of the doubt.

This is especially true within the church community.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

It sounds so simple. “Bear with each other…” And yet this can be a difficult task. Our brothers and sisters in Christ will have different opinions, yet they are our family. They may feel differently about returning to church, interpret the Public Health Order in another way, or take an alternative approach to vaccination.  And yet, we are united in Christ, so we ‘put on love’. We take the time to understand one another’s viewpoints (especially if we don’t agree), and give one another the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping to conclusions and a sense of superiority.

Underpinning this is the humility that comes from knowing that I am just as stuck in my sin as the COVID-positive person that went to Bunnings three days in a row. My righteousness is not my own, but bought with Jesus’ precious blood, and counted to me while I was his enemy. And so I make a choice: to put aside a spirit of judgementalism and superiority, and to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Kate Williams
5pm congregation, Parish Councillor