A white police officer kills a black man in his custody. Some riot and loot and destroy, but others kneel in the street, police and protestors, black and white side by side and pray for grace. They resolve to work together for better.
The Covid pandemic has brought massive trouble and sorrow to millions around the world and yet it has also seen a tremendous surge of generosity and neighbourly concern. People have been imaginative, finding new ways of doing good, despite the restrictions!
As we’re unable to gather for normal church services many of us are exploring new ways of meeting for worship and fellowship online through Facebook LIVE and ZOOM .
What has been really lovely is how folk have used these occasions to renew contact with old friends and associates, taking time to get in touch and share concern, not to mention a bit of fun! Members from previous parishes have popped up, people from Australia, Portugal, Malta, Jamaica, Florida have shared messages of encouragement. One person I haven’t seen since student days has been in touch and we’ve promised to meet for coffee asap!
Another quite wonderful thing has been the creativity, the internet allowing musicians to play and sing together from their individual ‘lockdowns’. Guitarist Brian May has been most sociable, inviting people to join him in jamming some Queen classics. Michael Ball and Captain Tom Moore and a host of NHS workers inspired the UK population with their rendition of ‘You’ll never walk alone’.
A young friend from Transcarpathia sent me a video of his Hungarian Youth Choir singing a Smith/Tomlin piece, ‘Waiting Here for You’. I speak almost no Hungarian but still it’s wonderful.
Last Sunday was Pentecost and members from over 300 Christian churches and fellowships joined in singing a blessing over Ireland. I confess I cried with joy as our various traditions plus some emerging new ones were celebrated together, praying for our land and people in Jesus’ name. Later I discovered a similar video of people from 50 different countries singing ‘Amazing Grace’.
(These videos can be viewed below.)
Some words from Paul’s letter to Galatians chs 5 + 6 come to mind:
‘The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like…
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control…
Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ…
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…’
Amen to that. Take care.