Sunday 17 May 2020

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Yesterday I caught up with a friend. Over a coffee or two, while our dogs got to know each other, he gave me the nautical version of Paul’s voyage. I was informed that no bosun ever will listen to the passengers, and the harbour they were sheltering in, Fair Havens, was basically a strait with cliffs on either side facing so the prevailing wind would funnel through it. He reads Acts with a maritime chart for reference.

He has experience in the Southern Ocean, and I defer to his judgement. At the same time Kea and his wife were talking about how her connections in the States are thinking we won’t know how bad it will be for another six months.

Then we watched “Margin Call”, after discussing these things, which relates to the last global crisis.

It’s fair to say that we were troubled, for we can see the virus disappearing but so many people with their lives shattered as a result of the lockdown

So this morning I began Bible, then stopped to watch the Arise Online service, because that is our church, and it remains functioning in homes as the government bans church meetings over 10, or 50. The message was that there will be hope, and the covenant of Noah implies that this world will continue.

So this is a time for courage.

1 Peter 3:13-22

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

John 14:15-21

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Our role in this time is not to let the despair of this time take us, nor to converge to the lethe of the time just gone. We will face trials, and there will be much anxiety and depression, for people will only look at the current storm.

God has a longer perspective, and we should be similar. If we do what Christ commands — love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, love the people of God as Christ did, and treat our neighbours as ourselves — we will be witness to Christ without a word being said, and despite the signs of covenant being subverted.

Have courage. This virus will become part of the background. The economic cycle is going down and will go up. And the covenant of the Lord will remain beyond the life of the hills and oceans.

This world only sees the current year, but we are not to be at all like them.