22 April 2020
I am certain that as it has been for everyone else, the lockdown has come with some challenges. But having a personality type with a preference for introversion, the opportunity to be locked away from regular social activities initially felt like a blessing from heaven but I also recognised early on that I had to be careful with my mental state and not slip into permanent isolation. For context, 2019 had been a tough year with the loss of my father late in the summer, navigating my Christian faith from a place of tiring-meaningless works to finding deeper connection and relationship with God, which is how I believe I arrived at the Golders Green Parish Church having resigned previous commitments at my previous church. As well as struggling through a period of what felt like depression (although I was never clinically diagnosed). Needless to say, I was really hoping for a peaceful 2020.
On the first of April I was furloughed at work and those crushing feelings of helplessness began to creep back but through inspiration and some learning, I decided to reframe the situation. I thought to myself: “there will [possibly] never be another situation in my life-time that would force the whole world will stop like this, the world is resetting and so must I”.
My thoughts were that the world will have a new normal at the end of this lockdown and we have a choice as to how we exist in the new norm – I would rather be in a place where I can contribute to that new norm as opposed to experiencing it happening to me.
So, I set myself some goals:
• Meditative reflective Prayer: I was so blessed and privileged to join the ‘Deeper with God’ sessions with before the lockdown which has become a daily routine now, actually is a great motivation to get started. I have been using the book of John for mediation, partly because reading the book of John does make feel somewhat spiritual but also because I find it the most Christocentric of all the gospels. Having Wednesday evenings to look forward to have also been a joy. This week I graduated from my initial 15 minutes sessions to 25 minutes – with the amount of noise that I have in my head – that is a big achievement me doing it unguided. Thanks Rex and everyone in the group. I encourage folk to join…I promise you it is transformative.
• Exercise: I had not exercised consistently for close to five years and trying to run for the first time felt like my heart was going to explode but three weeks into it I have managed to run almost every morning. And now can go full 3 Miles at 9.05 without stopping (now I am not sure if that is great, I am just very proud of myself!)
• Eating well: I live alone and travelled constantly – so eating out was pretty much part of my daily routine, I was once accused of setting up late meetings in restaurants so I can get my dinner before I go home(it was a very on the point accusation) and even thought I enjoy cooking I have never had the time for it. I have been using the lockdown to try out new recipes. This probably explains why the exercising is crucial less I need to buy a new wardrobe post lock down.
• Lockdown Priorities: I had been planning to do a life-audit for a while and what better time to do so – this has included revisiting things like what my Purpose is and how that plays out in the changing times.
• Reading: Luckily, I have more books to read than I could possibly can read in a few years and having three to four hours to read without having to be anywhere or prepare for anything as been richly rewarding.
• Checking up on family and friends: Really enjoyed long, meaningful and rich conversations with people that I had either lost contact with or maintained relationships via social media and text.
• I have also enjoyed the various virtual concerts and plays that have been on Social Media – The one thing I thought I was going to really struggle with is not going to the theatre, pre-covid – back in the good old days, I generally saw two to three plays a month so having the national put old productions that have been quite delightful.
So how I am finding the lockdown? I humbled by the many losses of life, recognising that but for His grace that could have been myself or anyone of my loved ones, hurting at the stories of loss and hopelessness that we are globally experiencing but reassured that nothing happens outside the context of His plans for humanity. Most of all I am praying [possibly more hoping that praying at this point] that I find myself being relevant and useful for my community and beyond when the next season of mankind opens up.
I will take some advice on how to stop my mother watching and sharing conspiracy videos however; any suggestions? J
This weeks editor was Demola
Many thanks Demola
We at Golders Green Church will continue to offer a number of ways we can and will keep in contact though emailing and phoning each other, the use of Facebook and the website, sending out updates by supporting those who need shopping, prescriptions fetched, letters posted and anything else you may need if you are isolated at home, whether you are in the over 70-year-old age group, or, have underlying health conditions.
The important thing is, PLEASE LET US KNOW. We are drawing up a list of volunteers we can call on to help. If anyone wants to add their names to this, please email Rex email@example.com
Keith living with lock-down
If you look on the reverse side of a £10 note you will see a portrait of Jane Austin and a quote, “I declare after-all there is no enjoyment like reading”. Over the past few weeks since lock-down I have been catching up with reading old magazines, newspapers and books but I confess I have never read any of Miss Austin’s work although I have seen films and tv adaptations. With warmer weather with us now I have been going for short walks in the evenings and, with the lack of people about, they have been most enjoyable. I do of course like everyone miss church and look forward very much to the day when we can all be back together again.
Every day at 9.15am I join in with the morning service from the Revd Miranda Threlfall-Holmes church of St Brides, Liverpool. Miranda has been a friend of many years. She is a theologian and historian who has written a number of books on prayer and also Church History. Others join in the service from all over the country as well as from her own congregation. It is such a joy and comfort to be there with each other- one of the benefits of video services as they can reach out to large numbers of people. This prayer is said at the end of the service and sends us into the day with hope.
God’s Circle of Light
In the circle of God’s love we are one;
The Circle is never broken;
In the light of God’s welcome we are one;
The light never goes out;
May the children teach us the wisdom of play;
May adults teach us the gentleness of care;
May the circle surround us when we are apart;
May the light draw us together again.
Some news from those on the prayer list
Dorothy starts her latest cycle of chemotherapy this Thursday and says, “all is well.”
I spoke to Margaret last week, she is very pleased to say her abscesses are responding well to treatment, she sounded very upbeat.
If you are on our list and would like to give us an update, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them
Okey Jnr, Margaret, Yvone, Anna, Jason, Ian, Eva, Juliette, Ivor, Myfanwy, Tim and Dorothy
Radio, Television and Online Worship
You may wish to join in worship during this time through television and radio.
Check online, in the Radio Times and elsewhere for details:
Songs of Praise BBC 1, Sunday afternoon, variable times
Sunday Worship BBC Radio 4, Sunday, 8.10am Choral Evensong BBC
Radio 3, Wednesday Daily Service
BBC Radio 4 (Longwave only), weekdays, 9.45am
Big Sunday Service Premier Christian Radio, Sunday, 7am, 8am, 10am Easter Sunday Eucharist A service is usually broadcast on the BBC on Easter morning
Online resources Church of England Daily Prayer https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-dailyprayer
https://mailchi.mp/b9d86a4acdc7/coming-up-from-st-pauls-cathedral-1274047?e=377e26b1db St Paul’s Cathedral have a number of resources available for us to use.
Church of England Online Resources during this time https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronaviruscovid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources
Go On-line to "www.A Church NearYou", put in Area or post code and find a local church that broadcasts Worship.
Prayers frm Christian Aid https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers
https://pray-as-you-go.org/ Pray as you God (a short service each day in the Jesuit Tradition)
LICC have some great resources on their website https://www.licc.org.uk/
Especially on Covod-19 https://www.licc.org.uk/ourresources/prayer-journeys/presence-pressure-purpose/
Rex was asked an excellent question in one of our Zoom groups:
Did Timothy and Titus ever meet or see Jesus?
In answering this question I want to add some names to the list, by looking the people who like Timothy and Titus are closely associated with St Paul.
This is someone who we might have ignored, he gets a mentioned in Acts 12 and 13, but in honesty not very much. He has a big fall out with Paul, but then who doesn’t, then disappears altogether.
But it is most likely that this is the Mark of the Gospel, a close associate to Peter, it to Mark’s mother’s house that Peter goes having escaped from prison in Acts 12, where a group were praying. Well worth a lock down read, the servant who goes to the door, doesn’t let him in!
It is thought this is the person who ran naked out of Gethsemane (another comedy moment). So if all this is correct, he certainly met Jesus
But as importantly for our question he is also the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4.10)
Barnabas was born in Cyprus and given the name Joseph, by his parents; they were a Levite family. We learn in Acts chapter 4 that he had some land, which he sold, and gave the money to the common purse in Jerusalem. It is the apostles who give him the name Barnabas, which means ‘son of encouragement’. He certainly comes across as a very nice man.
Barnabas was one who was the first to accept that Paul was no longer a threat to the early church (Acts 9:26). He took Paul under his wing and accompanied him on his first journeys. But a big fall out was to happen between these two men as well.
Given his prominence in the Jerusalem church, his relationship with John Mark. I give him a yes, he met Jesus.
We are introduced to Timothy in Acts 16, where we are told that he is believer. He was born in what is modern day Turkey, his mother was a Jewish believer in Jesus and his father a Gentile, it is his father’s background that means he was not circumcised at eight days old, but all that would change when he met Paul! It is said that he died in 97AD at the age of ninety-years-old.
Given his age at the time of the life of Jesus, the fact he was not an observing Jew (no circumcision), he gets a no vote from me, I don’t think he met Jesus.
There is much written about Titus’ birth and life. However, most of it I take with a pinch of salt. so what can I say about him?
He was born into a Gentile family, another one not circumcised this caused him to be part of the controversy surrounding Paul’s first visit to Jerusalem. The arguments were over what requirements could be expected from Gentile believers in Jesus to be considered members of the early church (Galatians 2).
Titus was a convert as a result of the ministry of Paul (Titus 1.4) and was a trusted fellow missionary (2 Corinthians 8.23). But with his Gentile background and age, it’s a “No” from me.
Luke is the author of the Gospel that carries his name and he was a friend of Paul (Colossians 4.10-14). I believe he travelled with Paul on some of his journeys, which he then records in his other work the Acts of the Apostles. It is not accepted by all scholars that Luke travelled with Paul (his name isn’t recorded in Acts) but I find the ‘we’ passages (16:10–17; 20:5–15; 21:1–18; 27:1–37; 28:1-16) convincing.
However, Luke’s gospel begins:
1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
So it seems clear that he wasn’t one of those witnesses, so a “No”, for Luke
If you have a question, please email it too email@example.com
YouTube - Worship Videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQWFzMvCfLE 'What a beautiful name' - Hillsong
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ns15nFSfgU 'Great is the Lord (Hallelujah)' - Paul Wilbur
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPBmFwBSGb0 'Angus Dei' / 'Hallelujah' - Michael W Smith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI7N1JMvtnE 'Jesus Only You' - Martin Smith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9UB5U7kSec 'Behold (then sings my soul)' - Hillsong
Alternatively, try and tune into Premier Praise.
Do you have favourite worship songs? Please email them to Rex