Isaiah 43:1 “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”
We are many days into lockdown, 144 to be exact with over half a million having being diagnosed as having the virus in South Africa, and in the midst of pain for families who have lost loved ones, including head of the Nelson Mandela University Medical School initiative, Prof Lungile Pepeta last week, there appears to be some encouraging news.
At the weekend it was reported in the Sunday newspapers that in places like the Western Cape it appears to have peaked – not gone away, just peaked. In fact, field hospitals are being dismantled in Cape Town and shipped to other areas in the Eastern Cape, like Butterworth.
We also know that with the lockdown and the virus affecting so many of us, personally, in a negative way, it is natural to become fearful, despondent or frustrated. Yet, the words, “fear not”, are used at least 80 times in the Bible, maybe because God knows the enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit our victories.
And so, amidst all that … I came across this apocryphal story … it has an American “slant” but it is a good lesson for us.
A few months ago, a garbage man noticed that no rubbish bins were being put out at an elderly woman’s house on his regular route for two straight weeks. He was concerned enough to share the address with his supervisor.
She found the name of the woman and called her: Mrs Smith we’ve noticed you haven’t put out your bins for a while. Are you okay? Mrs Smith replied: I’m okay. But my caretaker was so afraid of the virus that she stopped coming to call on me. I can’t get to the shop. I don’t have any rubbish because I have run out of food. And I don’t have any family to help me.” After a long pause, the caller said: “You do now. We are your family.”
She let the truck driver know the sad news. The next day, on his day off, he knocked on the door and asked her to make up a grocery list. “Mrs Smith – this list is too short.” She added a few more items. “Mrs Smith this list is still too short. Would you mind if I looked in your fridge?” She relented. He opened the fridge and it was bare. Empty.
An hour later, he brought in dozens of bags of groceries for the woman he hardly knew.
Tears. An air hug that met the social distancing protocols. And the rubbish collector walked out of the house of this woman who was physically immobile.
A rubbish collector decided he’d reach out to someone and church broke out. His supervisor shared the creed with this elderly woman: “You have family now.”
I miss our services of worship. I miss that the church is silent now. I miss seeing all of you.
But Church? Church is happening all around us. It’s a phone call. It’s a bag of groceries. It’s buttering a sandwich. It’s knitting a beanie. It’s making a mask. It happens anytime someone tells another person: “You have family now.” (Matthew 10: 42)
Keep being church. That’s all that you have to do.
Dr Brombacher shares a message of hope and inspiration.
Click here to watch.
Petro will explain how to install this on your smartphone.
Click here to watch.
Do you have a sewing machine?
Would you like to help to make face masks?
St John’s has partnered with Masks for PE and is encouraging people to make masks to give away in needy areas.
Wearing face masks when out and about is mandatory. Everyone needs at least 2. That’s a lot of masks!
Masks for PE makes it very easy for people to help.
They supply packs with enough pre-cut fabric for 30 masks, thread, fabric ties and instructions.
Finished masks will be packaged along with instructions in English and isiXhosa as to how to wear them safely and how to care for them.
Masks will be distributed at our Fountain Road Soup Kitchen in Ggebera and the Centre of Concern.
Belinda and Mike Jordan will be co-ordinating this project for St John’s.
Contact Belinda on 083 447 3900 if you want to start sewing and to arrange for delivery and collection.
Please contact Andrew 083 546 2451
or Petro 072 663 9774 should you have any questions or require assistance with ZOOM.
Please be aware that the recycling area is currently closed until further notice.