14 August 2020

It is fair to say that locally there are not many happy campers. We are facing at present not merely a lockdown in Auckland but a fairly relentless upswing in public health messaging and control. It’s interesting talking across generations, because the elders in general are accepting the risk and getting on with it. The younger are angry, ferally so. I think that the messaging we are getting does not calm. Instead it angers.

One of the questions asked elsewhere was if this is a punishment. Well, I think it is foolish to think that we can beat a virus. I also know that God is sovereign, and thus the first thing we should do is pray {1].

That the nation will again see his blessing. I know our leaders are feckless and apostate, but so were the kings in the day of Isaiah. He prayed that the hearts of the nation would be softened to hear the word of God. We should also pray for this.

Isaiah 63:15-19

15 Look down from heaven and see,
from your holy and beautiful habitation.
Where are your zeal and your might?
The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion
are held back from me.
16 For you are our Father,
though Abraham does not know us,
and Israel does not acknowledge us;
you, O Lord, are our Father,
our Redeemer from of old is your name.
17 O Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways
and harden our heart, so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.
18 Your holy people held possession for a little while;
our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary.
19 We have become like those over whom you have never ruled,
like those who are not called by your name.

We need to be on our knees, and I am humbled by many of my friends, for they pray better and longer and more fervently. For our family, our colleagues, our neighbors. For ourselves.

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, 1929

If we are with God, we have more than resilience. We have resistance. it does not matter what the world does to you: the words you say that are censored, the resistance, the complaints from social justice warriors. In the case of St Paul, the ancestors of our antichrist coalition managed to stone him. But God preserved him, and he preached the gospel still bruised [2]

Acts 14:19-28

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.

Look more at the attitude of Paul. He got up. He preached. And then he moved along, retracing his steps, and, returning to Antioch, from where he had been sent on his journey, he gave praise to God.

Not for the trials, but the results of the trials. A church had been founded, and souls reconciled to God. Let this again be the reality of our time.
1. Yes I know that prayer is for the USA, but they still do such. Our leaders have removed any reflection of Christ, instead mouthing words in Maori they do not understand.
2. The alternative is that the mob were not competent enough to finish the job. That is quite unlikely within a Jewish section of any ancient city. They knew what they were doing, and would stone: the Jews did try to stone Jesus more than once.