InTouch 29th March 2020
Stay connected – https://balhannah.org/
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Was Jesus reluctant to go to see Lazarus in Bethany? Why did he take so long to get there? The way John constructs this scene is to establish that there is a purpose to Lazarus’ illness and death. It’s all for God’s glory. Surprisingly Jesus waits another 2 days where he is before setting out! In a time where there is limited medical care and transport consists of walking a notice that someone is ill leaves no time to waste. By the time Jesus gets to Bethany Lazarus has already been buried for 4 days. This means that when Jesus received the news then Lazarus was already dead.
The urgency we often feel to “do something” comes out of the belief that we can control the outcome through our actions. In this current season of sheltering from the Covid-19 pandemic many of us can’t do much to affect the outcome. We are told the best thing for us to do is to withdraw, wait and protect ourselves, and others, from human contact. This can be frustrating and humiliating as we feel control is out of our hands.
But let’s not fall into fatalism. We can encourage each other during this time of slowing down our lives and limiting our expectations. Use the phone. Write letters. Say prayers. Read and learn. God has not deserted us.
God, in Christ will raise us up, all in good time.
Packing Day will not take place on June 2, and June 3, as previously advertised, due to the Coronavirus. It may be held later on in the year, or we may have to postpone until next year. We will keep you updated. In the meantime, if you have clothes or suitable goods for Packing Day, and you would like to dispose of them, please give me a call on 0417806386 and we’ll make arrangements to store them. Thanks. Bev Crispe.
From our Synod General Secretary – 23rd March
As you know the challenges and the changes to the way we manage our daily lives are coming thick and fast. On Sunday 22 March, both the Federal Government and the State Government in SA made several announcements. They provided details of closures to public spaces to ensure appropriate physical distancing rules are adhered to. In his press release, the Prime Minister stated that places of worship were to close. In order to keep people in our congregations and communities as safe as we can, it is very important that we follow their guidelines.
So what do these changes mean for us?
All worship services in church buildings are to be suspended from Monday 23 March. If a church is going to live stream or record worship services for online worship, only essential personnel are to be present, and appropriate physical distancing must be adhered to (4m2 per person and 1.5m apart). If anyone is in the high-risk category for COVID-19, they must not attend. If churches are producing printed resources, we encourage you to deliver them to members rather than have them collect the packs from the church. Please encourage your members to give their offering via direct debit, or to arrange a safe process of regular giving. Church offices may continue to operate with staff as required but must be closed to the public and church members who are not recognised office, paid or volunteer workers. All gatherings, groups and activities in church facilities need to be suspended. These include Bible study groups, fellowship groups, craft groups and non-associated groups who hire your facilities. Hiring of church facilities to external groups must be suspended from Monday 23 March. Gatherings in homes must have no more than 1 person per 4 square metres in the room where the gathering is held. Funerals may be held in church buildings for family members and officiating persons only, as long as the 4m2 per person and 1.5m distance rule is adhered to.
From our Moderator – 23rd March
As we enter this stage of restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, I ask you all to continue to pray for your church leaders, the decision makers and health professionals, as they all seek God’s guidance and the best way forward.
I encourage everyone to look out for each other, maintain connection and worship God in new and different ways.
As the scattered but connected Community of Christ may you draw on the strength and wisdom God provides.
Prayer of the People
Pray for each other. Picture each other’s faces and imagine what each is doing at that moment. Offer a short thanksgiving for that person and ask that God will bless them in that moment.
Pray for those who are already suffering for illness and disability. Ask that they will find protection from the threat of Covid-19 and other illness at this time.
Pray for those in Nursing homes who are not only vulnerable but also socially isolated.
Pray for those in countries with fewer resources than ours to deal with this current crisis. Pray also for that who are slipping from our attention due to short media news cycles.
Pray for our church, and all churches in our area, that we will demonstrate God’s goodness and Christ’s love without the use of our buildings
If you have specific requests for prayer then send them through to email@example.com and I will include them in our Sunday service and our Intouch mailout.
This Sunday at 9.30am I will be offering a short worship service online. Go to our website at https://balhannah.org to see it. I’m still working out the details but there will be something there.
Grace and Peace
Geoff Hurst (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.