Preached by Sheridan on Sunday 22nd March at 7pm via Instagram Live.
7 Ss to survive this pandemic
I want to talk very briefly about 7 Ss to survive this pandemic.
I know that celebrate starts with a c not an S – but it sounds like an s and so I’m going to leave it in there.
These are really hard times and we’ve got to make space for sorrow. We can’t pretend that everything is ok and bottle it all up. If you want to cry, write a sad poem, feel a bit frustrated, punch a punch bag – that’s OK. This is the hardest thing the UK has faced since the second world war. It’s ok to find it hard sometimes and we all have different ways of showing that. We don’t have to hide the fact we feel sad. Let’s makes space to tell each other and tell God how we’re feeling and let’s listen really well. Let’s learn to say “Wow, that’s tough. I’m so sorry to hear that.”
We’re all feeling more anxious and more stressed than normal – whether were young or old this is really, really strange and different and our normal routines have changed and things we love to do, we can’t do at the moment. And a lot of us are in our homes together more than normal. And there’s a temptation to pack our time with distraction – TV, social media, ipad, games on the computer… and I’m as guilty as anyone. But it’s really, really, really important that we learn in this time of heightened anxiety to take some deep breaths… DO SOME and be really still and really silent.
What I do, is take 5 deep breaths in and out and on the in I say Love within…. And on the out I say Fear Without… then I sit really still with my eyes closed for 5 minutes and I say in my head “The Lord is here.”
You might want to try that
Singing is also a real boost – could you try to sing a worship song everyday in your house – alone or with your family or housemates? You could make a list of the hymns or songs you like best and sing one a day as part of your daily routine. Worshipping God lifts our hearts… you could sing happy songs or sad songs of worship – God is always listening out to our prayer and praise
After you’ve sung a song, you might want to spend some time in prayer, or after the time of silence.
Bringing your concerns and worries to God.
You might have a bit more time on your hands than normal. You could do something fun like learn a new instrument or a new language – I’m going to take up Spanish. But you could also take a bit of time to study the Bible. You might not have done that a lot at home – or you might be really good at it. I think a great place to start is the Book of Psalms in the OT. This was Jesus’ hymn book and the psalms – all 150 of them cover the full range of human emotions from “I love you Lord, you are brililant and wonderful and amazing…” to “Oh goodness me, what on earth is going on the world is going crazy, where are you.” Reading the psalms can bring us comfort and consoltation, but also give us a good tool to express our worry and frustrations and fear. How about trying to read a psalm a day…. You could get creative – do art works or poems, or write tunes to the psalms…
We are in this together. Let’s do all we can to love and serve our communities.
Let’s not panic by. Let’s not spread fear. Let’s be a blessing. At home, on the street, and in shops.
But also let’s show this solidarity visually. Every night I’m going to light a candle at 7pm like we did tonight and say the Lord’s prayer. Will you join me? Not live on instgram… but join me in your heart?
Also would you like to join: Clap for our Carers. We are asking everyone that can to clap at 8pm on March 26 – whether it’s in your garden or local park or out in the street (at a safe distance from others, of course). Will you join in that?
Also there’s an initiative to get children/adults painting rainbows and putting them up in your windows as a sign of hope. Please do that… it could be therapeutic, fun and a lovely visual sign. Make them as colourful, creative and as big as you can.
Look out for local initiatives that are caring for the vulnerable.
Let’s really do all we can to love our neighbour.
Post a card through your neighbours door, check they’re ok… if you are well and healthy see if there’s anything that needs doing at a local level.
Everyday, despite the enormous difficulties there will be things that bring us joy.
Celebrate them, give thanks to God for them. Be intentional about noticing them.
Say thank you more – to God and to everyone you’re connecting with.
Perhaps you don’t usually say grace at home.. but maybe now is a good time to start – when we’re more conscious of food supplies.
Press that gratitude button (as Darren would say) – be thankful to God, be thankful for the beauty of spring and the love that you will see around you daily.
And find ways to connect and celebrate – in prayer, in worship, but also in fun ways – use facetime, a letter, a phone call to make connections and love each other.
And remember at all times, whatever is going on, Jesus is with us.
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me |
all the days of my life,and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
2 Corinthians 4 v 7-10
7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.
John 14v 27
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.