Saturday, April 11, 2020

Plague Journal: Week 4

Plague Journal: Week 1Week 2 & Week 3.

I seemed to be getting into more of a routine this week and ministry felt a bit less like trying to wade through treacle, while wearing flippers. Which was nice. The change from using Facebook 'Go Live' to pre-recording YouTube videos has helped. The only hitch was on Sunday afternoon, when someone tried to Skype me when I was recording the Sunday evening message. The video was lost and I had to record it again. It takes an age to upload videos from my mobile phone, so the Sunday evening message was late in posting. Rather than recording using the YouTube app, which requires an internet connection, I now record straight to my phone. That means I can put the device in 'Flight mode' for recording, and then reconnect to upload the video to YouTube. You will find our YouTube channel here

Was a busy week, though. On Monday I recorded two more videos for our 'Virtual Holiday Bible Club' on 'Jonah the Runaway Prophet'. These were in place of the 'proper' HBC that was due to take place on 7-9 April. The story videos seemed to attract a bit of interest and we enjoyed seeing the children's drawings and video clips posted on our Facebook page. For our 'Prayer Meeting', I  gave a message on Colossians 1:10, which was posted at 7.00pm on Wednesday, after which we had a Skype chat/prayer time. I also prepared and  recorded messages for Good Friday and Easter Sunday morning. I have the prep done for Sunday evening, but plan to record it (with the phone in 'Flight mode'!) Sunday afternoon. It doesn't feel altogether like a Sunday to me if I'm not doing some ministry on the day. All our video messages (including the Jonah ones for the young at heart) can be seen on our YouTube channel here

With regular news reports of mounting coronavirus deaths (almost 10,000 in the UK to date), it's wonderful to be able to point people to the One who has defeated death by his death and resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Easter services have been cancelled and our church buildings will lie empty on Sunday. But the empty tomb of Jesus fill us with hope, “Fear not [said Jesus], I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades." (Revelation 1:17-18). 

In the meantime Sarah and I have been phoning around members and friends of the churches. They seem to be bearing up well in the circumstances. I was due to have a week off next week, but it seemed a bit 'hireling-like' (John 10:12) to take time out when the flock has been scattered. I can always take a week off later in the year. I've made some more progress with Bob Letham's Systematic Theology, and am now up to p. 252 (was on p. 237 2 weeks ago). Not as much headway as I'd like, admittedly. Hopefully, things will quieten down with only 3 ministry videos to prepare/film per week, which would be the norm.

I seem to be having a spike in friend requests on Facebook. Don't know why I've suddenly become so popular. Must have been about 20 'friend requests' for my approval today. The problem is that some newly accepted 'friends' try and contact me via FB Messenger, asking how I am, and that. Complete strangers. Don't they know I'm British?

For some reason FB is preventing me sharing my blog posts. Regular readers will know that apart from the typos there is never anything offensive on here. Yes, some people might disagree with my Christian stance, but free speech and all that. Attempts at appealing the 'block' have hitherto been unsuccessful. You are reading the blog Facebook wants to ban. That's how bad you are.

Thankfully, the PM is now out of intensive care. Political attention is beginning to shift to when the lockdown measures might be lifted. Some commentators worry that the economic cost of combating Covid-19 might prove to be almost as harmful to society as the virus itself. Lockdown may be eased gradually, by geography and age group. Being as some areas/ages are less affected than others. It seems likely that schools will reopen sometime after the Easter break.

Around here people are behaving very responsibly when it comes to social distancing, whether when out for a walk, or in the shops. Panic buying has virtually ceased. The Home Secretary has told the police not to overdo it when enforcing social distancing. Threatening to check people's shopping bags for 'non-essential goods' was way over the top. The government has confirmed that shops which may remain open can sell anything on their shelves. We bought some bargain priced Easter eggs. Big uns too. For our government approved daily exercise we've enjoyed some nice local walks, exploring parts of Westbury we don't often frequent, including some secluded pathways to the town's famous White Horse.

Seeing it the other day (photo below) put me in mind of the the ominous 'pale horse' of the Book of Revelation, "And I looked and, behold, a pale horse! And it's rider's name was Death and Hades followed him." (Revelation 6:8-9). Not that I'm suggesting Westbury's landmark equestrian icon has anything to do with the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. But it seems the dread rider is on the move at the moment.

Less apocalyptically, I've been approved as a 'GoodSam' NHS Responder. Been waiting by the 'Batphone' for a call to assist someone in distress for days (64 on duty hours), but not a squeak. Although, aside from that scheme, an elderly neighbour rang for help earlier in the week. She wanted a couple of multipack bags of ready salted crisps. Walkers if poss. Mission accomplished. Not all heroes wear capes, I think you'll agree.  

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