I just got an email from our church in Nigeria about a protocol for reopening tomorrow (June 21) in socially safe manner, with this delightfully understated line:
9. Members that do not feel motivated to adhere to the guidelines in this document are welcome to remain home for their and others’ safety.
I may be wrong but I think I detect something of the firm but humorous hand of the senior pastor Solomon Guruza behind that!
While we’re still stuck in the UK until travel to Nigeria opens up again, we’re glad that churches there are able to reopen in some way. Our church there has done a great job of trying to keep in touch with everyone through zonal groups and wrestling with variable internet coverage for streaming services.
That actually has in a strange way brought us a little closer to Nigeria, even though we’re still in Glasgow. Suddenly a whole host of Nigeria things are happening online:
- Jos office devotions have continued online,
- my Greek reading group has Zoomed,
- Julie’s women’s Bible study has met online,
- we’ve had some Jos church zonal fellowship meetings by Zoom as well as the Youtube stream,
and so we feel even more in an in-between land — somewhat like the wood between the worlds in C S Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew. It’s good to be connected all over the place but it can be a little tricky.
Meanwhile friends in Glasgow have very generously given to support our close friend Sarah whose house mostly collapsed during heavy rains/wind a couple of months ago. That’s enabled her to continue building a house in a more suitable location… hopefully less plagued by termites! We thank God for the joy of belonging to a worldwide family, and we thank God for Sarah’s model of a positive attitude during all this trouble.
Recent events in the world — on our media and social media — have given us all a lot to think about and I have a few thoughts coming together, but they’re not quite ready for sharing yet. Suffice to say, if we’re not humbled at all by everything that God is sending our way, I think we’re missing something. As I read to Elizabeth last night:
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.Deuteronomy 8:2-5