Weekly Letter – 27th March, 2020

Dear Friends,
With God’s help we got through last weekend and the ministry team has
been very touched by the many positive comments regarding the on-line
services. Each week I think we will be a little better at it than before.
Special thanks are due to Simon and his technical team and the
musicians for their great work.

It is now about 10 days since the Government ordered church services
to be closed and as you know every day since has produced new, and in
some cases, horrible developments. The question is: what are we
Christians to make of all this and how can our faith make a difference? I
reflected on this briefly in last Sunday’s services.

However, during the week I came across an interesting article by a
Christian leader in the U.S. which I found helpful. He asked: ‘What has
been the primary effect on this virus, at least so far? Not many of us [relatively speaking] have gotten sick.’

He reflected on the secondary effects on most of us, applicable here as in
the U.S.

He notes the collapse of Sport. ‘God has removed this idol from us.’ He
notes that we have all had to cancel plans; holidays, school and other
things. Difficult as this has been, life goes on. He notes that the economy
has stalled, with all that flows from that. ‘God has always known that his
primary competitor will be money’ but he ‘has removed close to a fifth of
the wealth of this nation in less than two weeks.’ He mentions that many
of our entertainments and recreations have been taken from us showing
how ‘relatively insignificant they are in daily life.’

Last of all he notes that this crisis has revealed something about human
character. ‘People are being shown for who they are in a shocking way.
The self-centredness and greed in peoples’ hearts has been open for the
world to see in so many ways. Think of panic buying, Bondi Beach,
Corona virus parties, restaurants crammed full of customers. It has also
shown another side: the patience and kindness of many; the medicos
treating the sick, public servants staying at their posts and to the
kindness shown to friends and neighbours.

He concludes his piece by saying, EVERY SINGLE ONE of the things
he mentions we have lost, he says are ‘direct competitors with God for
our hearts. They have been shown by a tiny virus how quickly they can
be gone, how fleeting they are … and how much stock we put into them. God wasn’t taken by surprise by this outbreak. In fact he is removing idols we Americans have set up and calling us back to him …
He is showing us that he is the true treasure … Don’t build your life
around them. He alone is worthy of our devotion, trust and love. Don’t
miss the message.’

I couldn’t have said it better so I have left it to him.

Keeping praying for one another. Keep in touch with one another and
keep supporting your church in every way.

God bless you,

Bruce Ballantine-Jones
Acting Rector