There are some words in the book of Joshua that have, recently, been coming back to mind. The people of Israel are about to enter the promised land. Joshua instructs the people to follow the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s presence with His people, as it is carried into their new land. The reason why Joshua reminds the people to follow God is because;
Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.”
(Joshua 3 vs. 4)
As I looked at the verse, I couldn’t help but smile, Joshua instructs the people in social isolation! But, in this verse, there is something that really spoke to me and to the situation many of us find ourselves in at this time;
…since you have never been this way before.
As I think back over my life, I remember the long hot summer of 1976 when there were standpipes in the streets. I can remember times of industrial unrest, which led to power strikes and having to take energy saving measures. I can remember the bread shortage…… foot and mouth…..the miners strike and perhaps you can too. But;
….you have never been this way before
Coronavirus has affected me in ways I could never have imagined. Closing the Church building, even for private prayer. Seeing all of the groups and clubs having to suspend their meetings has been difficult. Around two weeks ago, I had not heard of Zoom. Now, it is part of my life (something I have had to learn very rapidly). Over the next two weeks, I have to conduct 3 funerals where the numbers attending are restricted. All the time, at the back, of my mind has been that nagging fear of “what will life be like once this is over?”
Life hasn’t been all doom and gloom. Some good things are coming out of this.
I am enormously grateful to members of my family. They are really helping with the services and sorting out my struggles with technology. Communicating with the Church community would not be possible without them.
I am enormously grateful to those folk from the Church who are helping the vulnerable members of the community. Our Homeless project has had to adapt to the current situation. Visitors and volunteers alike have been a joy to work with.
I am really grateful for the on-line community of Baptist Ministers. We are there to support, encourage and pray for one another. A few of us met online last night for a “virtual pint”! It was lovely to catch up with friends and realise that I am not on my own wrestling with the issues that coronavirus presents.
In all, the biggest message I would take from this is the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on God because, none of us have ever
…been this way before