The clock showed the time 7.54pm and I said to Karen ....”If no-one else is out there I’m not standing applauding like an idiot.” “I am” came the reply; applauding she meant, not an idiot. I’m likely to get into bother for that one so keep it to yourself. It’s our secret! Anyway as the special BBC News item came on the TV we went to the front door and there, to my relief, were our neighbours across the street already out with the family cheering and applauding, and from all around we could hear but not see others doing the same. Applauding in gratitude for the doctors, nurses, clerks, porters, radiographers, ambulance personnel and all the others of the NHS staff who have remained at their posts to serve the public in these last hectic days and who will be there as the crisis deepens if it progresses as we’ve been told.
It is good to be thankful, and a relief in these dark days of grim news to have something to cheer us. One is the number of ordinary people who have volunteered to stand in the gap and make up the short fall in social services. Another is the retired medics and nurses who have willingly return to help where they can. A third is to hear, as I’ve spoken to people in the church family over the last two weeks, how you are keeping in touch by phone and social media and supporting one another. We ought not to underestimate the significance of small acts of kindness and help given to one another in times like these, and we must make the effort to keep it up and maintain the attitude of caring for the vulnerable especially, when normal life resumes. I wonder though, what the longer term effects of this will be on the country and the community. Will it make us a more unified country, a more compassionate society, a community with a real heart for others, a church that is thankful which no longer takes for granted the privilege we have of meeting Sunday by Sunday to worship and for fellowship, a spiritual family in which even the youngest or the most insignificant as the world regards them, is valued?
More good news is when we hear of the people recovering, some coming back from the brink of death after days when their life hung in the balance, and being restored to their families, many in answer to prayer. In such conditions the victims are powerless to help themselves and must receive intervention from others if they are to recover and come back to health and the picture is much the same when we consider our spiritual need. In our natural state we are dead to God, without spiritual life. Without intervention there is no prospect of life and no hope in eternity and in our reading from Colossians 2:6-15 Paul reminds his friends of this very thing V13 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.” (ESV).
Just to make the picture a bit clearer, at least I hope so. Circumcision was the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham. What Paul is saying is that before God made them alive they were outside the people of God. He was a stranger to them and they to him, and while alive physically they were dead to the life of God. Still more good news then and another reason to be thankful for if this describes you then God has pulled you back from the brink and has made you alive when you were dead.
LISTEN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSbJPZLNIuc Living hope. Phil Wickham