When we first moved to Level 4 some people told me we’d be in lockdown for at least 12 weeks. I wasn’t too upset at this prediction, I had lots of things I needed to do, but I did think there is another place I’d like to be for 12 weeks only problem there is no cell phone coverage there or WiFi. This would have made working online quite difficult.
So each day I make the difficult journey from the kitchen (breakfast) to the bathroom (clean my teeth and hands) to the office. Where I sit before the screen and type and read and type and read and read and type. Sometimes I get a phone call – that’s exciting. Or a visit from our dog. And then there are morning and afternoon tea breaks – (they go a bit long, but its good to have a chat!) Lunch is dominated by the 1pm update, then back to read/type/type/read etc... Until 5pm – that’s when I bike home. Well, I bike away from work back home. As the days get shorter, the night is getting darker and the sun is dropping through the red hues. One night, near Tai Tapu (I live on a big block) the sky was so red. I had to stop, call Maree and over the phone we both enjoyed the setting sun’s rays. It reminded me of Matthew 16:2-3 Jesus says to the Pharisees and Saducees,
“When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”
This is ‘Red sky at night – Shepherds’ delight, red sky in the morning Shepherds’ warning’ – setting aside the purpose of why Jesus was addressing them, it fascinates me that this idiomatic expression has been around for so long.
When this COVID-19 virus came to New Zealand, I was very keen to impress on Dad & Mum how serious it was that they protect themselves. Possibly because I was trying to protect around 200 teenagers at the same time. Dad reminded me that he had been through some tough times in the past – effectively saying, ‘this ain’t my first rodeo son!’ Regardless of what you think of economists, Tony Alexander in a blog published 20/4/20 noted that this downturn is bad, but many have lived through tough times before. “We all learnt to adapt to those different turbulent environments which ran almost two decades from 1974-92, including the 60% share market fall of 1987- We are not facing anything remotely approaching that lengthy epoch in New Zealand’s history.”
I remember 1974 not for economics but the Commonwealth Games and colour Television. I remember 1984 for much else except that’s when I went to University, and 1987 that was a big year – I met Maree that year, and by 1992 it all just seemed normal to me – I mean I was a fully experienced 27 year old. How we see the present really depends on our perspective.
So when someone predicts the future, perhaps we should take it with a grain of salt. When the sky is red at night, let’s marvel knowing that the Creator has through the wonder of light waves and physics created majestic scenes that capture us and cause us to stop and marvel. And, when we are confronted by a pandemic with everything that can mean from loss of freedom to loss of income to loss of careers or loss of loved ones let’s trust the Creator who creates wonder in the skies and wonder in our hearts.
When we went into Level 4 lockdown the call from our Prime Minister was among other things, ‘be kind.’
I thought this was a curious call, we had messages of ‘stay at home’, ‘social distancing’ and all several health messages but among these we were asked to change our attitudes to ... kindness. The cynics amongst us will no doubt go with a theory of left wing politics, but for Christians we ought to embrace this call.
Ephesians 4:32 calls us to be ‘Kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’
That’s such an inconvenient verse isn’t it? We can’t hide from that call. We the forgiven are to forgive. We the ones who have received kindness are to be kind. We the ones who have been given compassion are to be compassionate.
So, here’s how I see this verse working:
When someone comes up with a crazy conspiracy theory, I show kindness not scorn while trying to speak truth in love.
When someone is freaking out about the COVID-19 pandemic, I show kindness and compassion while trying to share that our world has been through these tough times before – sharing with love.
When we are irritated by others or ourselves, show kindness and compassion to others or ourselves acknowledging that we forgive just as in Christ God forgave us.
Lift your eyes to the skies and marvel.
Close your eyes to pray and praise Him.
Grow in Grace,
Previous BlogsThe News... : Warren, 1st July 2020
Shhh - Listen : Warren, 19th June 2020
Relief? : Warren, 11th June 2020
On the Cusp : Warren, 4th June 2020
In the Beginning... : Warren, 28th May 2020
Seasons : Warren, 21st May 2020
Aroha|Love : Warren, 14th May 2020
How is your mind? : Warren, 7th May 2020
On the Level : Warren, 1st May 2020
Signs : Warren, 24th April 2020
Whakaaria Mai : Warren, 15th April 2020
Essential Worker or Not? : Warren, 8th April 2020
Rumours : Warren, 1st April March 2020
What Would Jesus Do? : Warren, 25 March 2020