A few weeks ago I was listening to a radio phone in programme. It was the week after the government introduced “social distanicing” – and the morning just before they instructed a full lockdown. (It all seems so long ago now doesn’t it?)
Anyway a rather irate caller was bemoaning the fact that a church near her had flouted the rules and had met as normal the previous day.
The host said “It’s funny, I’ve been wondering if people would turn to God during this Coronavirus – often things like this make people question things, and seek out God. And then I realised all the churches were shut, and they wouldn’t be able to go there with their questions!”
Sadly she was the last caller of the hour, so there was no opportunity for anyone to respond.
But it made me think, what would I have said if I had had been able to speak up? Quite simply this, the buildings may well be closed, but the churches are very much open and God is very much at work!
Like many churches across the nation / world – Pollok Baptist has decanted and taken up residence online for the time being. Yes we are doing things slightly differently, meeting on Zoom at 11:00 on a Sunday. It’s often messy, and the technology doesn’t always run smoothly, it can take 20 minutes for the congregation to gather – but we have the joy of seeing people brought together. After an initial call to worship, prayer and some teaching we have the opportunity for everyone to catch up with each other. We always have tea and coffee after our regular services and our Zoom service is not different – we just make it ourselves and drink in the safety of our own homes. And yet it’s very different . . . instead of just speaking to one or two people, now everyone is sharing together and oh how special that is! We meet with those who are “shielding” and we hear from those who are juggling child care and home working, and still others who are essential workers and what this crazy time is like for them. Some folks express their worries or concerns, and those with knowledge are able to reassure them and allay their fears. We’ve welcomed visitors and in an amazing way they too have become part of our family.
If you would like to join our zoom service, we’d love to see you! Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have kids’ zoom on a Saturday and our virtual prayer meeting is busier than ever, so now we’re now looking at adding on a weekly Bible study.
By the time we come out of lockdown, we’ll all be experts at the this virtual malarkey! It’s certainly helped us be mindful of those in “far flung” places, who only have worship via technology, who never get to meet in person.
The one thing that the building opens for is food. How blessed we are to be supported by several large supermarkets, including Waitrose and Tesco. Their generosity has enabled us to provide fresh fruit, veg, meat, milk and eggs (along with our regular donations) to over 70 families this week! Our foodbank will continue to operate on a referral only system, serving the people of Greater Pollok Area, with food deliveries twice a week for as long as the lockdown continues. (Referrals can be made through local housing associations, the health centre, social work or any church member.)
On this Easter weekend as we contemplate the sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection of our Lord – it’s going to be a bit different this year, but His resurrection gives us our confident hope -ultimately He has conquered death and one day the darkness will have to give way to light and life!