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As a part of my diaconal ministry, I still have a role as a chaplain to various different organisations, and to some of these church isn’t a big focus.
As the pandemic continues to spread, sickness and the death toll continues to rise, and peoples lives are disrupted, I guess it was inevitable that I would hear the question of:
Where is Christ to be found in the misery of lock-down?
The person asking the question wasn’t waiting for an answer. He had already made up his mind, and whatever I said wouldn’t change it. But it did make me think about how I might have attempted to answer his question.
How would you start? What might you say?
If we think of, as some people are describing the current situation of lock-down, as being imprisoned, then there is plenty of precedence in the scriptures and the lives of the saints to suggest that Christ is no stranger in this situation. Christ Himself was captured, tortured, crucified and then imprisoned in a tomb. But we know that He rose triumphant from that. We believe that those who die are making their way on their journey to join the Lord, but quite apart from that, I believe that we are seeing a glimpse of Christ in all the good things that are happening around us.
Love God, and Love your Neighbour – the key we are told to living a life as Christ did. If we live to these ideals then we can truly say that Christ is coming into our world. But in answer to those who are sceptical, we can point to the fact that this approach makes a difference. Some do this in their working lives, some do this by the quiet acts of support they give, others make a difference through the power of prayer. We believe that Christ is present in others – unlocking Christ in ourself, unlocks Christ in others. Everyday the news is full of stories of ‘good initiatives’ that are helping communities and individuals. That is where Christ is?
But, do we see Christ and give thanks for this blessing?
As with the Easter message, out of death came resurrection and life – so too, out of the despair of the virus, comes the good and hope of a community living with the values of Christ, it’s just that some don’t recognise it.
Deacon Ian Black