Now we are coming out of complete lockdown and there is relative ease, perhaps this is the time to begin to reflect on what lessons we may have learned from it.
The first thing that springs to mind is the heavy death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic that is sadly still ongoing and the fear of a second wave of infection when the lockdown is lifted. It is quite sobering that to date (i.e. at the time of writing this piece) over 36,000 people have lost their lives to this very sneaky infection.
Let’s put this in perspective. I live in Medway and our local stadium, Priestfield Stadium in Gillingham, holds about 11,500 people at full capacity. So we are talking here about three times that capacity. This is shocking, to say the least. Now given this number of deaths, I’m just wondering, are you thinking what I’m thinking? How did it come to this? Where did we go wrong? I’ll leave you to ponder those questions for a while.
I understand there is a petition making the rounds on WhatsApp and other forms of social media about reopening our churches. That is fine and I agree with that. But have we stopped to ask ourselves why we are asking for this?
Is it to meet our friends again and share fellowship face to face and restart those morning coffee and cake midweek meetings that we cherish and to have that sisterhood or brotherhood banter after Sunday service that we so enjoy?
Or is it to restart our evangelistic foray into our neighborhoods that we’ve missed so much? Again, I’ll leave us to ponder that in our individual minds
While doing that I’ll let you into my thoughts about this. An in-law spoke to me this week about a member of his church who rarely attended church on Sunday but has now been regular since the online church started and even attested to the fact that he’s been really enjoying fellowship this way and participating in all the activities.
That is the beauty of the online church and I firmly believe this resource MUST be harnessed and exploited in full to reach the unchurched. In our life group, we’ve had two people express interest in joining our weekly online meetings, one churched and the other unchurched.
For many, online church has afforded them the opportunity to fill their homes with praise, worship, and prayers and I am talking about the churched here.
Many only fellowship in church once a week and don’t even pray at home. Do I hear you say really? Yes really. Now please don’t get me wrong.
This is not an accusation but a call to spiritual arms. We are Christians and we are called to reach out and that means all of us including myself. Let’s ask ourselves, how many unchurched friends and colleagues have we invited to our online church since it started?
I believe every church should start looking at ways to make the online church a permanent fixture as it is shaping out to be a powerful evangelistic tool.
Now back to my questions. If we want the churches to restart because we are rearing to go and evangelise our neighborhoods, I’m all for it but there should be no going back to the status quo. Think of the many lives that have perished without Christ in this pandemic. We CAN and MUST not stand for any more deaths without Christ.
Christ is the head of this nation, our unseen provider, and our silent protector. To Him all flesh will turn for it is He who answers prayers. This pandemic shall pass and we shall emerge victorious in the awesome glorious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. So let’s raise a hallelujah in spite of the storm raging around us. May The Lord God bless and keep us all.
Practical advice on prevention of COVID-19 infection
1. Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitiser gel if soap is not available.
2. Avoid touching your face.
3. Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
4. If driving, wipe the door handles and steering wheel with a sanitising gel before and after driving.
5. For those working with patients, take your shoes off at the door before entering your house on returning from work and take off your clothes on entering. Wash them and take a shower. Clean your shoes with antimicrobial wipes or spray and leave them preferably in a box in the hallway to prevent cross-contamination.
6. When you go shopping leave all your shopping in the bag on the floor and wipe all sealed packaging if possible with antimicrobial wipes. Wash all fresh produce with water before refrigeration. If possible take off the outer packaging of foods and re-bag them in sealable bags. This can be tedious and time-consuming but better safe than sorry.
7. Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
8. Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterward.
9. Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
10. Avoid handshakes.
11. Maintain a safe distance from others when out and about (at least 2 meters).
12. Avoid large social gatherings but small groups meeting up in the open spaces like parks are now allowed to provide the social distancing rule is adhered to.
13. Stay at home as much as possible unless you are going out to shop or you have an emergency like visiting your doctor or the hospital.
14. All elderly people 70 years and above and those with chronic medical conditions are well-advised to stay at home and avoid social contacts as much as possible (referred to as shielding)
15. The use of face masks or face coverings is now encouraged in public and certainly on all public transport. But please do remember that surgical masks if worn are disposable and should be discarded after a single use so you may find that reusable face coverings are cheaper and easier to manage. A word of caution about face coverings though, “keep then clean and make sure they fit well covering the nose, mouth and the sides of the face to prevent leakage of air sideways and backward.
16. If going to work, avoid using public transport if you can. Cycle to work if at all possible – it is a good way to get some needed exercise done.
17. Lastly, if you experience symptoms please seek medical advice early.
Stay safe, stay alert, and keep applauding and supporting our key workers.