Sunday, November 22, 2020

Plague Journal 2: Week 3

15-21 November 

On Sunday morning I spoke on Jeremiah 10:17-25 in our Zoom service, on 'Facing Affliction with Faith.' In the evening I conducted an interview with Catherine Haddow 'Anxiety: A Mirror of the Heart'. We discussed her Bible-based approach to helping people with anxiety issues.  

We had our Zoom Prayer Time on Wednesday evening, where I gave a Bible Study on Psalm 65. On Friday evening I livestreamed the latest One Way Club video on the Story of Moses. Last week  I also made a video on 'Daniel in the Lions' Den' for a primary school assembly. 

It was deadline time for the two parish magazines for which I write a monthly article. I usually use the same piece, but with different services info for the Providence & Ebeneezer Churches.

Our Bradford on Avon Ministers' Fraternal, of which I am chairman, resorted to Zoom for our meeting on Wednesday morning, Michael Payton of Chippenham gave an inspiring talk on the Huguenots. What those faithful French believers had to suffer put the inconveniences of lockdown into perspective. 

The lockdown rules don't allow for 'routine' pastoral visiting, so my wife and I keep in touch with people by phone, especially those who live on their own, or are unwell. The rules do allow two people to meet up outdoors, also I arranged to for a walk in Longleat Forest with a church member who lives near there. 

News is percolating through of a small number of churches defying lockdown rules and meeting regardless. Some are claiming to meet under the guise of a support group, others are simply ignoring government guidance and gathering anyway. Sadly, and perhaps predictably this has been the cause of some division between and within Evangelical churches.  

As I've indicated, we have moved all our services online for the lockdown period. That doesn't mean I am convinced the government was right to close church meetings. I have written to my MP and signed a letter of protest. But I don't believe that Christians are being signalled out for hostile treatment by the government. All faith groups are being treated the same and other sectors such as cinemas and pubs have had to close their doors. Sometimes we may best commend the gospel not through bold defiance, but gracious submission, 1 Peter 2:13-17.

Although we are locked down, the word of God is not bound. Livestreams of our services are reaching more people than would have been the case before the pandemic. The online interviews have garnered a good number of  views. The Catherine Haddow one has attracted almost 800 views. 

We used to run 'Bake Through the Bible' outreach events aimed at engaging whole families with the gospel. Our Hall would often be buzzing on a Sunday afternoon. The family who were the driving force behind BTTB this week produced the first episode in an online version, which was really well done. Take a look at Bake Through the Bible: Episode 1, which has had nearly 600 views so far. 

Still, I'll be glad when the current lockdown ends on 2 December and we can start gathering for worship once more.

Biss Wood

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