Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Ephesians 6:19-20a
As we emerge from lockdown it is worth remembering that Paul, the great communicator of the good news of Jesus, conducted much of his ministry from prison.
I was one of the many Christians who were horrified when we were told that churches had to close and that even priests were not to go into their churches to pray. ‘What does this say about the Christian message?’ I said angrily. Subsequent experience and reflection has shown me that it has taught us quite a lot.
The word of God cannot be supressed by a horrid little virus any more than by oppressive regimes. Preaching the Gospel and being in contact with Jesus is not confined to a building and the Holy Spirit will help us to find many and creative ways of reaching others with the love of Christ.
A survey commissioned by Tearfund suggests that far more people have been turning to prayer than is usually the case. Churches have been communicating through on line services with people who have never walked through their doors and have expanded their work for those in need through new relief centres. Individuals have contacted the lonely with written messages and phone calls and have been offering practical help in all manner of ways, often touching the lives of people with whom they have previously had little or no contact.
It is great to be able to open church doors again and worship together in a familiar place but as we do so we should not forget all the positive things we have learnt about communicating the faith while ‘in chains’. Let us as individuals and as a Christian community continue to build on these as we move forward in that great adventure which is the Christian life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father we thank you for the way you bless and nourish us and through your Spirit guide us in times of difficulty. We ask you to bless and heal those who are suffering. As lockdown eases please help us to build on lessons learnt and to be creative and courageous in spreading your love and the good news of Jesus Christ. AMEN