This time of lockdown leaves many people “on their own”. Widowed people whose children have moved away. Single people with no partner to share the load. People infected with Covid-19 alone in intensive care. A person may go out, to shop, to exercise. One might see other persons but it is as though walking through a zoo, observing from a distance . For the people of God, who have belonged in local communities, the simple joy of fellowship and worshipping God TOGETHER has been replaced by the two-dimensional experience of the internet.
It may be that living for God on one’s own is preferred? Less contact; less challenge to change? Less need to fit in with the others? Perhaps, as the weeks go by, the novelty of communicating through the available technology has worn thin? Being a servant seeking how to serve, to give rather than receive, has been swamped by personal need? My personal “need” is to be in a team. But, now, it seems that I am on the field alone! At best it feels like I am playing 5-a-side football on a full-size ground, when once there was a full team (and subs). Or, perhaps, like playing cricket without fielders.
So much of life was becoming individualised before this time of lockdown. Personal programmes, personal Jesus, personal truth. Perhaps that is strength for these days? After all, watching a singles tennis player playing for victory is inspiring! May we find inspiration from our Saviour Jesus to be alert and watchful, to “Play up! play up and play the game!
Sir Henry Newbolt wrote those words with reference to the challenges of the First World War in his poem, “Vitae Lampada” (meaning, I think, “pass on the Torch of Life”).