Thoughts from Tearfund, shared by Phil
Phil shares this!
I found this reflection from Tearfund’s daily lent reflections very helpful this morning.
‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ (Galatians 6:2)
I wrote the original version of this reflection back in October. It’s now Tuesday afternoon on 17 March, and the world looks very different.
Coronavirus has changed the world, and it will continue to change it. But love has not changed. Our God has not changed. The hope we have in him has not changed.
These are uncertain times, yet surely as Christians we ought to be a people of certainty? A people who know that we are held in the arms of God? A people who can shine brightly as the shadow of fear descends?
If our faith cannot be relevant in a time such as this, then it cannot be relevant.
The world needs the love of Christ right now. You are his hands and feet. You are the vessel through which divine compassion enters the world.
We will continue to share these daily reflections, changing them where it feels appropriate given the circumstances we all now face. Below you will find an updated version of the reflection that I’d originally planned for today. It’s about building community in a world that focuses on the individual. Two days after the UK was put on lockdown, with people encouraged to ‘socially distance’ themselves, that message has taken on a new poignancy:
The idea of self-care has gained a lot of traction in recent years. On the one hand, this is a good thing. As someone who’s suffered from mental illness, I know how important self-care is. As part of the recovery process, I had to make sure I looked after myself by praying, exercising plenty and eating well. As we enter into a period when many people will need to self-isolate, this need becomes even more pressing.
However, I wonder if the ‘trendiness’ of self-care is symptomatic of a deeper problem: the rise of individualism – the cult of ‘do whatever is best for you’. It is interesting that, as these things have grown in our society, so too has loneliness.
We’re built for relationship. We’re made for community. We need each other. What that looks like in a world of self-isolation is something that we’re going to have to figure out. But I do believe that it’s possible. And I’ve already seen examples of it happening – people reaching out to neighbours who previously they’d never interacted with. Postcards popped through letter boxes offering help to people who are unable to go out.
When I was going through the most difficult periods of my life, there’s no way I could have done it without the support of friends, family and church. If we truly want to care for ourselves, then the first thing we must do is reach out to others. That’s going to be even more of a challenge now, but it’s a challenge that we can rise to. Once you’ve finished reading this, take a few moments to think about how you might be able to reach out in love in this new world we find ourselves in.
The spirit of fear wants us to think that this virus will drive us apart. But there is a different spirit, the Holy Spirit, that even in the darkest times can bring us closer together.
Stay safe. Stay hopeful. Take care of each other. And remember that love always wins.
Thank you for the gift of relationship and community. We pray that, despite the evidence to the contrary, this crisis will bring people together, not drive them apart. For those of us who are anxious, bring peace. For those of us who are sick, bring healing. For those of us who are caring for others, bring strength. For those of us who are lonely, bring comfort. For those of us who are not lonely, help us to see those who are, and help us to reach out to them in whatever ways we can.
Jesus’ name we pray,
You can sign up for the Tear Fund Lent devotionals here. https://www.tearfund.org/lent_2020/