I've been thinking

Greetings to you. As I write this, we are yet to hear the outcome of the next cabinet meeting on alert levels this coming Friday.


Reflecting on this lockdown to date, I have found it more disjointed, or maybe more unsettling than last year. The 2020 lockdown, we knew from the start, would be for some weeks. This time, we have been told three days, then four days, then …? By extending the South Island lockdown for shorter bursts we realise we have not planned in the same way. Hence, no organised Zoom prayer meetings or weekly musings, as we are constantly only a few days away from possibly changing alert levels. For this I am sorry.


I am also finding that I am more tired this time around. Who knows why? No matter what situation you find yourself in, can I encourage you to phone people when they come to mind, rest when you need to, and if you are working, accept that you may not be quite as productive at home as in the workplace!


Therefore, rest, spend time being honest with yourself and God about how you are feeling and coping, and if we can help please let us know.


COVID Vaccine

I am aware there has been a LOT of discussion with regard to vaccines and whether we should or shouldn’t receive the vaccine.


I have wrestled with all the information that has come at me from numerous sources, and as a result have been hesitant to get the “jab”. It did not help getting a message from a long-standing friend explaining every conspiracy as to why I should not listen to “official” advice. Not liking needles does not help me either!!


There are a couple of comments that I would ask you to consider.


  1. As Baptists, we hold the belief that each person is free before God to believe and act according to their own conscience. This has deep historical roots for Baptists. The outworking of this, is that we stand for the rights of others to hold differing opinions, even when we don’t agree with them. Can I ask that we apply this to the situation we find ourselves in today. Some people hold very strong views, both for and against having the vaccine. Please respect others’ opinions with grace.

  2. I am not a doctor, nor a medical professional. A family member posted a comment along the lines of, experts are experts for a reason. Some of my hesitancy was because I was reading material that was not always from people who were informed on the subject. I am not saying simply accept everything the medical profession say, but rather maybe it deserves more “weight” than my own opinion. For an insightful video from medical professionals, which helps with many common questions, check out this 50min contribution from the Baptist Missionary Society (https://nzbms.org.nz/a-vaccination-conversation-the-science-and-the-ethics/).

  3. Can I assure you, that feeling uncertain or somewhat anxious about getting the vaccine is ok. It is a vaccine, and like all vaccines it can have some side effects. Many of us have experienced this as we had other vaccinations in preparation for overseas travel.

So, last Tuesday, Karen and I had our first dose of the Covid vaccine. As mentioned, I don’t like needles. Mine hurt just a little bit, while Karen didn’t feel a thing! We survived! We had a little soreness around the injection site for a couple of days afterwards, and that was it. I confess, I felt somewhat better going back into a lockdown, knowing that I had had that first vaccination.


If there is a Scripture to wrap this up, there are actually many. None speak of vaccines, but rather there are many Scriptures in the New Testament, in which the followers of Jesus had to wrestle with other issues relevant to the church at the time. Sometimes they would come to different opinions, but hold their views with good conscience. I pray we can do the same in this situation.


Thinking of you…

With all that is happening, and especially with our border closed, I ask you to pray for members of our church, and the wider community, who have family overseas that they are unable to visit. It is amazing to have video chat so readily available now, but it is not the same as a real hug.


For those of you in this situation, I pray God’s deep comfort and assurance on you and your family at this time.


Prayer opportunities during lockdown

If we are at levels 3 or 4, next week we will be hosting a prayer meeting on zoom for those who are missing praying with others, or those who would like to connect through prayer during the week. This will continue at the same time each week until we are back at level 2. Remember our prayer chain is still active, contact Pam Jourdain at pam@jourdain.kiwi to place a prayer request. You are also welcome to contact Bruce or Viv on the church phone line 348 6742 (which we can now answer by distance!) if you would like some pastoral support or personal prayer over the phone.


Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting during level 3&4 lockdown on Zoom at 7.30pm, starting on Wednesday 1 September. Open for anyone to join, please contact MinJoo for the link (admin@avonheadbaptist.org).


Changes

So this week, I was supposed be in Auckland to audit a Carey College Masters paper. Obviously, the course had to be changed, but I am still able to access some of the lectures, via Zoom. I am very grateful for the technology at hand!


You have to smile…

I was in touch with a parent playing the old favourite Monopoly with their child this week. It seems the child was the winner of the game. The parent made two telling comments; one, that after three hours of this he was ready to flip the board, and two, if they were living on the Monopoly money he ended up with, they would be living in a tent! Monopoly is no respecter of age!!


Praying you have a peaceful week, one and all.

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