EBC Blog Spot
Published on 13 May 2020
What I’m learning in a time of Covid-19?
Helen Jenkin (12th May, 2020)
L earning new skills
I nvesting time in Bible study and prayer
M othering from afar
I ndulging in too much chocolate
N oticing the kindnesses of others
A llowing God to shape and mould me
L eading a Bible study group online
S upporting elderly parents
P raising in song and planning for the future
A rranging cupboards and Zoom meetings
C herishing every human interaction
E njoying God’s creation and His many blessings
This is life in my liminal space.
Kevin Hull (27th April, 2020)
Tonight’s Four Corners program on the volcanic eruption on New Zealand’s White Island, and subsequent deaths and injuries, revealed that tour guides helped others in the midst of the disaster, losing their lives as a consequence. The ANZAC remembrance event impresses this same willingness to think of others above self. These extreme situations reveal what we most admire in people, willingness to sacrifice self for the sake of others.
Compare this with fights in supermarket isles and spitting at checkouts when people don’t get what they want. Compare this with those who sell drugs or engage in human trafficking and economic slavery, to their gain but the ruin of many.
Much of the New Testament is focused on the sacrifice of Christ, and his willingness to suffer this indignity and death for our gain.
Many New Testament letters to believing communities describe the contrast of the old self-serving human nature and the new life committed to putting the needs and wellbeing of others ahead of our own.
Our governments are asking Australians to sacrifice for the sake of others. For some this is a small cost, like not being physically present with those we love. For others the cost is greater through loss of livelihood or emotional wellbeing.
We can but pray that our society will not quickly forget what it is learning about considering the wellbeing of others. ‘We are all in this together!’
For those who follow a Christ and seek to build his kingdom, a commitment to self-sacrifice is to be the norm, not something that is drawn out of us in crisis situations, but a daily expression of our worship of our God.
Kaye Johnson (22nd April, 2020)
Isn’t it interesting how words and phrases so quickly become part of our vocabulary? How many of us would have used ‘self isolating’, ‘social distancing’ and ‘new normal’ in everyday conversation two months ago?
How long did it take you to socially distance yourself in the supermarket queue? Or make sure your shopping trolley had been cleaned, or cleaned the handles yourself when wipes and sanitizer were available? I didn’t think much about this before, but I’m sure it will be a part of my ‘new normal’ when we get to the ‘end of this’!
I find myself in this liminal space; this transition point between two conditions, a turning point; on the threshold of the next stage in the process. Does this describe this unique time in our lives?
It certainly feels like that to me. I’ll never forget going to a supermarket in a regional country town to find their toilet paper shelves were completely empty! I actually laughed when I saw it! This shortage quickly escalated to tomato paste, pasta and rice and then frozen vegetables being in limited supply.
The changes to the hospitality industry, amongst others, happened quickly too. One day we were enjoying coffee with friends in the sun at our favourite coffee spot, and the next day social distancing became the priority in the queue and in the seating arrangements in the café. The next week the industry was reduced to takeaway only. We were so thankful we got to enjoy our dine-in experience before we left our country-town haven.
Our church life changed within a week, from meeting as a congregation to watching live streamed services. Our pastoral staff and support teams have worked so hard to facilitate this.
When we stop and reflect on this we realise how blessed we are. We acknowledge that nothing takes God by surprise; this is His universe and He is in control. When we allow God to control our lives through the Holy Spirit, and surrender our minds to him so he controls our thinking, we are filled with life and peace (Romans 8:6).
This liminal space gives us the time to worship Him (Joshua 1:7-8, 3:4) and prepare us for His work (Joshua 1:10-11) while watching for His leading to move us into a place we’ve never been before. (Joshua 3:3-4).
Brenton Jones (20th April, 2020)
“Even when we are crying out to God for an answer in our pain, anguish or just in nowhere land we should be thankful to God for what he has already given us. What he has done for us and the Awesome Power that he has to do for us.”
Nathan Daniels (20th April, 2020)
We are made for fellowship, and as such I never want to underestimate the value of communicating well with family and friends. In Luke 5:3 we read how Jesus taught from a boat. The boat provided and ideal arrangement, removed from the press of the crowd but near enough to be seen and heard. It has also been said that the hills surrounding the lake helped make the area a natural amphitheatre.
Jesus used the resources available (a boat on a lake) to be seen and heard, in order for effective communication to occur. In today’s era we have a wide range of technological resources. I am grateful that we can see and hear each other through technology, and never want to forget the benefits and simplicity of keeping in contact with family and friends.
DJ Del Pilar (20th April, 2020)
The Church Scattered | Liminal Space | The Church Gathered
These current restrictions have brought a dramatic change in the way we do church. These days, church services are being held in cyberspace. Although praise and worship through music and the teaching of the word is available, there is something profound about the physical connection that we experience when we are with one another. Hebrews 10:25 (ESV) encourages us to “not neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” In a time where “meeting” is limited to the digital space, we find ourselves longing for the day where we can be together in flesh, in spirit, and in truth once again.
We are experiencing a time where, in effect, we are forced to be the “Church Scattered”. We are having to come to terms with what it means to do ministry outside of the four walls of what we have deemed church, church with a lowercase “c”. How do we reach the unreached? How do we minister? How do we bless?
We are in a liminal space, an in between space. We know where we were and we know where we want to go. We are on the way. So we wait in anticipation, we occupy a liminal space, a space of anticipation towards being together.
I feel that this anticipation, this being in a liminal space, the people of Edwardstown Baptist Church gathered once more, echoes a much grander liminal space, a much grander gathering. We wait. One day, all of our brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world across space and time will be gathered together in worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Can you hear the chorus? Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Oh how I anticipate that day.
Courtney Morton, blog 2 (16th April, 2020)
I guess God has just been using this time that I am unable to have my feet and hands in everything (eg. Physical youth group, Kids Church and Uni, which gives me a lot of time at home) He is using it to strengthen myself in him and open my eyes and ears to him. I actually have had a song that has been going around my head constantly since the weekend, it is called This Man by Jeremy Camp. It speaks of the cross and the chorus lyrics are : “Would you take the place of this man, Would you take the nails from his hands.”This really challenged me to think about how much of my life am I ready to surrender fully to him and give him control of, but also how much we should appreciate what Jesus did on that cross for us. I think we get so distracted that we forget that God has a plan for us, but it is our choice whether we surrender our full being to God's plan and guidance. Personally I find I give everything over, but then the next thing comes along, I just need to hold it hidden for a bit. But God has been speaking through Christian movies I have been watching and songs I am listening to as I walk through my day. I have been sensing a message that I should be surrendering every new thing to God instantly, as God has the power to start those callings and journeys, sure he had the power to start that while I am holding on to them, but he wants to know I trust him with every ounce of my heart and being, over every portion of my life.
Courtney Morton, blog 1 (15th April, 2020)
I am learning to be a better youth leader. I started a routine at the start of the year of messaging thegirls individually but also keeping prayer points, updates and encouraging girls to just share praise or achievements within our small group chat.
I was on a zoom call this week with some fellow youth leaders. We were looking at the passage of Luke 24:32-53. Which was when Jesus reappeared to the Disciples. Although they couldn’t believe their eyes that he had returned, they were filled with Joy and Amazement. When reading the passage, I felt that Easter Saturday, when the disciples were awaiting the return of Jesus, they were
probably all very confused and unsure about everything, probably questioning what was going to happen next, but they were surprisingly filled with joy and amazement. You could say we are currently in a similar situation here, we are constantly confused and unsure with all the changes of COVID-19. But I feel we are called to support and find joy in this time, that most people are feeling fearful and are quite lonely.
I agree it is scary, I work in a Nursing Home with a lot of vulnerable people, I am a young adult that could carry the virus without even knowing until it is too late and I have asthma which places me at risk. I have to admit I was pretty fearful when the COVID-19 pandemic started. But that fear soon turned into trust and surrendering, as I know God protects me and I know if I was to ever get it and not survive. I know I will be going to a better place with my Heavenly Father and I have no fear.
“The mystery of God eclipses the darkness and the struggle.”
This is from the intro to the book of Job in my Message paraphrase Bible - and I like it. It feels really poignant for this current chapter in our world.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a virus wreaking havoc with the Earth and we’re all in some form of isolation and/or lockdown. For me, hubby is working from the home office and it’s school holidays so I’ve got an active 4.5 year old trying to play with a 6 month old for 11 out of every 24 hours a day. Insert seven cups of coffee here.
So, as I sit and pause tonight, considering the question that EBC has posed for this blog - “what am I learning in this time of Corona-virus?” - I realise that I am actually there.
The biggest thing that I’m learning at this point is to stop and take a beat.
I don’t have a choice. I must come to a complete stop.
Before all this broke out, our 4.5 year old was happily off to swimming lessons, ELC every week, play-dates and outings with grandparents. Our 6 month old had just started swimming lessons also, was on a list for baby sensory classes and was loving being at the park.
Now, we sit at home in the backyard or in the play-room. We have stopped doing and are simply being. This is something I have often struggled with. If I am not busy, I feel unproductive. But it’s these days that despite the darkness and the struggle of Covid-19, I will always remember simply being - as tiring as that might be sometimes - with my family.
I like to contemplate the red letters of the new testament from time to time. Perhaps the most confronting realisation I have had as a result of thinking in that space is about the lepers. It is so easy to question their gratitude or attitude. They lived in the social isolation space permanently away from people on the edge of town and hoped someone left food on a nearby rock. Did they hoard, did they steal from each other? I wonder considering our circumstance is not perfect, how our attitude is holding up!