So, we begin the very long journey out of lockdown with a few tentative steps.
As Christians, how do we respond to this?
I have seen many social media posts expressing a degree of impatience. To be honest I have said much the same thing in private messaging groups. Like everyone else in the country, we can become very frustrated with the restrictions and it makes us anxious and restless. Even if we weren’t a socialite before lockdown we are longing for the freedom to see whoever we want wherever we want for as long as we want. And we do really want to visit friends and family. What makes is worse is that we can’t always see the logic of some of the restrictions – there are apparent inconsistencies.
But we have to be patient. It’s what God calls us to be. It’s interesting that patience (or forbearance) is right up there in the list to describe the fruit of the spirit. It is part of the Spirit of Christ working in us that helps us rein back our annoyance at being kept waiting
For some of us we are not at all impatient but rather we are anxious. We are not sure about the risks and the dangers of venturing into social contact. It seems that actually many people have lost the ability to evaluate and live with the presence of risks in our lives and want the government to promise them a risk-free life. As Christians we need to show that we are not reckless but we can deal with the realities of life and death. This is more than common sense, more than just weighing up the risks. As followers of Christ we do not need to be in fear of the unseen enemy of a virus that may strike at any time but rather we trust God is in charge and he is good. We step forward in confidence, trusting the Lord to preserve us in this life until the day he takes us home to be with him.
Also, as we move out of lockdown we do need to be responsible citizens. We should act responsibly, especially with respect to the wellbeing of other people. We show we are serving Christ as we love our neighbours and respect the authorities by observing the rules. We don’t always agree with the rules or totally trust the science behind them – I certainly don’t. But we are not responsible for the judgments of our leaders. We are responsible to obey the law, and to apply the principles in any guidance.
But as we do this we need must not be judgmental. Even more so than before, there is a degree of common sense required and things that were black and white are more grey. What if we see our fellow Christian talking to more than one person in the park at the same time? What if there are guests in our neighbour’s garden who do not live there? Maybe there’s an explanation and maybe not, but we need to be charitable. Sometimes for close family and friends this might be a time for some gentle questioning but for most we operate on the principle that we are tough on our own behaviour and generous about others
Above all, we need to remain prayerful. We are still longing
for God to teach us through this situation, to draw many others into the
kingdom as they realise the frailty of life and the absence of hope, but that
he would show mercy to many suffering and grieving because of this virus.