Coronavirus Update 4

Dear Church Family,

We’re just about getting used to the ‘new normal’. Personally, I’ve found the second part of last week very challenging, getting used to zoom conference meetings and live stream and recorded Church services, and Denise to being a teacher with the children at home. I’m sure you’ve had plenty of challenges of many kinds too. I’m very thankful to dear brothers and sisters who have helped me through this.

The Lord is always at work for good, and being uncomfortable can strangely be more fruitful than being comfortable. It tends to make us more aware that our lives are in the Lord’s hands not our own, and that we depend on him for everything, and that this world is not our home. 

The situation does put a strain on everyone however. Especially those who are living alone. And those who are already battling with mental health – which is probably most of us to some degree. The loss of contact with loved ones and friends and anxiety about our present and future provision of necessities and the fear of the virus, and grief for the loss of the way of life that was familiar and has now been lost … all of these are normal experiences in the present crisis, and should not be confused with a decline in our mental health – but do put the pressure on.

There are several ways we can stay healthy. One of the best is to stay in touch with family and friends and Church family. As a staff team, we’ve been working on ways of doing this and are aiming to be in touch with everyone regularly to make sure that you are Ok. This regular update is one of the main ways of keeping in touch.

In addition, the recommended advice is to limit exposure to the news and media which are enough to make the most robust of us a bit low spirited. Far better to limit ourselves to one 15 minute news brief a day, and enjoy more time listening to the music we enjoy and reading and doing the things we wished we’d had time to do before all this started – it’s a great time to decorate and clear out the shed and the loft and cook and bake and … 

And above all to have more time with the Lord – to read the bible, and Christian books. And to explore the treasure trove of Christian resources that are ‘out there,’ for adults, children and families. Here are some:

Colin Buchanan’s excellent work:

And from Christianity explored ministries:

And, there is a wealth of good things for every age and stage on Clayton TV

And some reading suggestions: 

Reading the New Testament in 3 months.  Bible Reading Plan 

And if you’d like to do some extra reading on God’s Sovereignty Where was God when that happened by Christopher Ash is an easy and encouraging read. 

And finally, adopt the discipline of being thankful. Yes, things are stretching. But knowing the Lord, we always have things to be thankful for in His fatherly love for us (do listen to Paul’s sermon on the Lord’s prayer in last week’s service) and the many blessings he gives us. To be thankful is one of the distinguishing marks of the Christian. And it’s one of the best medicines for mental health, along with good food, exercise, sleep and fellowship with the Lord and one another. Colossians 2:5-6 makes this point:

‘So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Thankful to be – your brother in Christ,