9th August 2020
'Unless the Lord watches over...'
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat -
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
These verses have been favourites of mine for a long time.
Over this very strange and difficult time with the Corvid 19 lock down
we have had to think very carefully about the direction the church is going.
No congregating to worship together has been hard.
Simply put, the coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally changing how we do and be church.
Churches have been inventive and embraced social media, Zoom, Facebook, Team
and other forms of Social Media
but now the lock down is easing
where are we going to go from here?
For those living on the Isle of Mull the lock down hasn't eased that much
and the churches are still closed,
as I found out when I walked around the town last Sunday.
I felt bereft.
It is good to get back into our churches.
For the first time since March I was able to worship
in our village church today.
During July just one of the four churches in our benefice
was open for Sunday worship;
this month, two are open.
Even though we were all wearing masks so it was,
'Guess who's under there!',
and we were spread throughout the church social distancing,
it was a very special feeling being able to worship with friends again.
But church as we knew it will never be quite the same again.
This pandemic has highlighted
the importance of certain characteristic Christian practices.
We are encouraged into action,
to check in on friends and family by phone or internet,
or to deliver groceries to those in need.
If ever I'm tempted to worry about the church, and I have,
I remember that it is God's house and ultimately only he can build it.
Our efforts, by themselves, are in vain.
God is not only the builder of the church;
he is also it's protector.
These truths lighten the burden and help us to trust in God.
Whether you are a minister,
a member of the congregation, a business owner,
stay-at-home mum; whatever we are, wherever we are,
we need to learn the secret of casting our cares on God.
He is the builder and protector of our lives
and knows what battles we face.
And he is walking beside us throughout our lives.