Kia ora koutou.
On Thursday Carey’s staff team gathered to pray for you all as we lurch into another lockdown. Compared to the chaos of Kabul and the agonies of Afghanistan this
week, our Delta-induced disruptions are relatively inconsequential. Still, I know for some of us, and for many people across Aotearoa, this lockdown will cause considerable
I think of my sister-in-law, whose critical – possibly urgent – medical attention has had to be deferred. I think of my elderly mother in a private hospital, who
is being deprived of any meaningful contact with family members. I think of children in homes with limited internet connection. I think of business owners who are hanging
on by a thread.
What might Jesus want to say to us at a time like this? I’ve been reading through a book by Alan Kreider on The Patient Ferment of the Early Church.
It traces the improbable and extraordinary rise of Christianity in the midst of the Roman Empire. Why did the early church grow so rapidly?
Like other historians before him, Kreider points to the epidemics that sometimes swept through the Roman Empire. These plagues were devastating, sometimes wiping
up to a third of the empire’s population. Most Romans typically fled the towns and cities, ran for the hills, leaving their sick loved ones to die. Those that stayed tried
to protect themselves by throwing into the streets the bodies of plague victims, some of whom were still alive. “Many diseased and dying people … asked the pity of the
Christian communities, by contrast, tried to care for sick families and friends. Sometimes they paid for this with their lives, but more often they were able to nurse
those who were sick back to health. So, as one historian has put it, Christians out-loved and out-lived their pagan neighbours, who were often drawn towards Jesus Christ
as a result.
I wonder, how might we love our neighbours in the midst of this pandemic? Is there someone you can call or text or email? What about the lady across the fence? What
about the members of your church family? What about your fellow students here at Carey? How might you support them? Could you offer to share resources or notes? Could
you call them to pray a blessing on them?
And as you care for those around you, remember that you can cast all your cares on God, because “he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).