When Two Or Three ...

With New Zealand now having declared a COVID-19 Level 2 Alert, church is looking different around the country today.

For DH and I it began with listening to a playlist posted by our church, followed by communion with just the two of us, and then watching a livestream of the sermon from church. Seeing our pastors, and reading the comments by other congregants, helped to feel connected, and the sermon was certainly encouraging and challenging.

This may become the new normal for a while to come.

The future is so uncertain and with that comes anxiety. Our pastor reminded us this morning of Jesus' words in John 14 where He says, "Do not be afraid." A timely reminder - at least for me.

It has been too easy to feel anxious and afraid, especially with the information and opinions online. I worry for my children (and that includes my daughters-in-law) and for my grandchildren. I worry for those who work day to day with sick patients - and for their spouses who live with them. I worry that some may not be taking this as seriously as they ought: that they will disregard the recommendations around physical distancing and handwashing and sanitizer (if they're lucky enough to have any) and everything else. I worry for my parents and mother-in-law who are vulnerable and are now on self-isolation. For them, that also means social isolation as they have no social media, no internet, and only a phone to stay in contact with the outside world. And I worry for myself as my workplace will not be shut down until we reach a Level 4 Alert (despite many other businesses moving to have their employees work from home from this coming week).

But worrying doesn't help. By worrying, our focus and energy is taken up with something that is totally out of our control. Worrying forgets Who is at the helm. Worrying makes us believe the lie that our actions and our government's actions can save us. They can't.

Only Jesus can do that. And only Jesus is our safe refugee in this time of trouble.

These are two songs on our church's playlist today. I hope you find them as encouraging as I did.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20, KJV).