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I was listening to the radio the other day while the interviewer quizzed the health minister about ‘when our testing kits would arrive’. It made me wonder whether this is the international equivalent of panic buying. We need to make sure wehave what we need and who cares about anyone else.

It’s interesting how people respond in the face of a crisis isn’t it? Do we respond by looking out for others or looking out for number 1? It feels like a crisis can drive people in one of two directions.

Some people trying to steal NHS ID badges to be able to claim free food while 450,000 volunteer to help support the NHS however they can. One was quoted as saying: ‘I’m just one of a group of people who suddenly have a lot of time on our hands and I want to help’.

There have been lots of examples of generosity and kindness locally as well, and hopefully most of us do respond by looking out for neighbours and getting in touch with the isolated. But if we’re honest there is often a part within us that is defensive and scared.

Paul’s words, albeit written in the context of persecution rather than the danger of a virus, seem appropriate: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:12-15)

This needs some creativity – how can we be hospitable in isolation (a cup of coffee over a video chat?) Who might need us to rejoice with them or who might value our sympathy?

And on this point, Brian and I want you to know that we’re available. If you want to talk or pray, if you need some comfort or encouragement, we are very happy to schedule a video call (or a phone call!) so we can help one another live through this time with faith and hope in Jesus Christ.

Dave Lazonby

Week 3 of NMBC@home

Jesus is still King!

“They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him shouted,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!'” (Matthew 21:7-9)

Jesus is the King who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and Jesus is still king today, despite coronavirus! Here are your weekly ideas and resources for keeping connected with God during this time:

Something to READ
What better book to be reading than… The Bible! And what better time to start than just now? There are lots of great apps out there including Bible2020, Lectio365 and Bibleinoneyear – what’s stopping you? Let the lockdown spark your bible reading!

Something to WATCH
It is no coincidence that around 50 of us have just done the prayer course – learning to enjoy God’s presence, to listen to his voice, and to bring our praises to him. The videos are all available online and Session 4 on Intercession seems particularly appropriate – learn how to pray for a global crisis!

Something to DO
We can’t gather in the streets and wave palm branches, but you could post “Jesus is King!” online, or you could stick up the letters to HOSANNA on your windows! And we can declare Jesus’ lordship in how we live our lives – giving ourselves for those around us.

Something for the KIDS
Palm Sunday – our weekly activities you can do together as a family, begin with the story and then do as many or as few as you like, in any order. (And if you’re an adult and you like colouring – feel free!!)

Something for the KEEN BEANS
Devotions upon emergent Occasions by John Donne. John Donne was an English vicar and poet, and in 1624, while recovering from a serious illness, he wrote this book. Interesting reflections for our times!

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