Dear people of God.
As President Ramaphosa gave South Africans a timely warning last week to remain alert and prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus during the Christmas holiday season, I was at the same time reminded by the themes of hope and joy in Psalm 145 that we also need to look to the future beyond the pandemic.
Yes, it is true that Covid-19 infections are increasing in a number of areas, especially the Eastern Cape. And as other issues reduce the dominance of reporting on the virus on our TV screens and radio channels, we need to remember it is real and in our communities. We must please keep up the distancing, we must maintain health protocols, wear our masks and pray for equitable access to vaccines once they become available.
Yet I want to repeat what I said a couple of years ago – that social scientists caution us against too much focus on crisis, negativity and fear, since they can easily beget the very outcomes we seek to avoid. Both hope and joy are twinned in Psalm 145, and perhaps a good way to stare the pandemic in the face and ensure we flatten the curve is not to deny its impact, not to deny the science, but to look to a future promised by a God who has always, and will always, provide for our sustenance, even into that future.
In remaining hopeful, we need not discount the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the poor, who have in the main been those who have lost jobs and livelihoods. We must continue to intervene with relief measures even as we find ways of living joyfully and hopefully in the midst of the challenges we face: the emotional stress, the anxiety, the fatigue and the uncertainty. Looking back at the 234 (plus) days of lockdown, when last did you smile and laugh or talk about things such as care for others and for the environment?
There have been some differences in the way dioceses are dealing with singing hymns during worship. Our legal experts tell us us that there is some uncertainty in the law, so our advice is either not to allow congregations to sing, or to allow them to sing only wearing masks, observing the 1.5 metre distance rule and keeping to the legal limits on the number of worshippers.
My advice is: If in doubt err on the side of safety, especially if older congregants insist on coming to church.
God bless you.
†† Thabo Cape Town
Please pray for our confirmation candidates: Rebecca Mardon, Kyle Victor, Duncan Victor, Garion Long, Sihle George. The Bishop will be confirming them at St John’s on December 6th @ 6pm.
Teen Church as usual in the Youth Lounge after communion.
Children’s Church as usual in the Youth Centre after communion.
Egypt: Please pray for Bishop Thomas and Anafora, the church centre he built in the desert. They are really battling without any tourists visiting because of the pandemic. Praise God for the support the centre has received from the Egyptian community. Please pray for God to continue to meet their needs.
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