How poignant is it that in the midst of this lockdown we’ve had the privilege of celebrating the ‘birthday’ of the church. Last week Sunday, the 31st of May 2020, we celebrated the most significant event of the post-ascension era, The Pentecost.
This many Christians will recognise marks the day when The Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples of Jesus in that upper room and they spoke in new tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance.
People from different lands who heard them came together and were filled with wonder at what was happening because they heard them speak in their native language (Acts 2:1-12).
This was God’s way of reversing the chaos and disunity of Babel when God confused their language (Genesis 11:1–9). Traditionally Pentecost which in Greek is Pentekoste literally refers to the festival celebrated on the fiftieth day after the Passover.
In the church calendar it is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter (Whitsun Sunday). However on that fateful day, Pentecost, God gave the disciples a new purpose which was liberty to proclaim the gospel of Christ under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and hey presto, the New Testament church was born!!!
So following ‘lockdown’ for fifty days, the church was birthed, a new life, a new impetus, a new vigour, and a new purpose nothing like the world had ever seen before. As a result of this, about three thousand souls were saved after Apostle Peter spoke with boldness and power to the crowd. For an uneducated fisherman, this was extraordinary!
This is the power of lockdown when spent in the presence of God. Our lockdown today is uniting people, neighbors and even strangers just like the Holy Spirit united people following the ‘lockdown’ culminating in the day of Pentecost.
The church today is in physical lockdown but not in spiritual lockdown and we MUST and WILL emerge with a renewed life, renewed impetus, a renewed vigour and a renewed purpose of reaching out. Sounds familiar? Yes, it is and the reason for the repetition is its importance. We must not lose focus.
At this juncture, we cannot but remember those who are recovering from COVID-19 infection, feeling the adverse effect of the lockdown through the loss of jobs or perhaps bereaved and are finding life a struggle at the moment.
Please be reassured that in that struggle, God is working His purpose in you to turn your ‘mess’ into a message of hope that will not only minister to you but to others in perhaps similar circumstances.
This I believe is a time of regeneration and renewal of your strength and vigour spiritually and physically. One day at a time, one step at a time, and with the infusion of the power of the Holy Spirit your rebirth will be accomplished.
He is breathing (Ruach) into you the freshness that only His Spirit can bring to ease you out of this predicament and set your feet firmly on the road to complete recovery. You shall emerge with renewed life, renewed impetus, renewed vigour, and a renewed purpose.
Like the bible reassured us in II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” And I am confident that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Amen – (Philippians 1:6 NKJV paraphrased). So you will arise, you will shine for your light will come because the glory of The living God will rise upon you, Amen – (Isaiah 60:1 NKJV paraphrased).
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 allfresh 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 a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
8. Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
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 2metres).
12. Avoid large social gatherings – these are temporarily banned under the lockdown and social distancing rule anyway.
13. Stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel
14. All elderly people 70 years and above and those with chronic medica lconditions are well advised to stay at home and avoid social contacts asmuch as possible (referred to as shielding)
15. The use of face coverings is now mandatory on all public transport from the 15th of June 2020. The British Medical Association (BMJ) has gone one step further and are suggesting that face coverings should be worn in all areas where social distancing is not possible like shops, restaurants, and pubs. So there we have it, If unsure just wear one. Remember to keep your reusable face coverings 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. Lastly, if you experience symptoms please seek medical advice early.
May The Lord bless and keep you safe as you continue to stay alert. And oh yes, keep supporting our frontline workers.