For the duration of the COVID-19 shutdown our normal worship services have been paused and replaced by two online services each Sunday. All face to face group activities are paused as well.
After about two months of therapy, my physio said something at my appointment yesterday which made me chuckle. “Right, Karen,” he said, “we are slowly getting there: You are now at about the point where people normally first come to see me.” It made me chuckle because I am a physio myself (and I’d like to think I wasn’t a terrible one!) But in my own case, I really failed in the self-care department, sitting on a niggle way too long until it turned into something much worse. Ooops!
As I’ve been getting to know my exercises (my companions for many months to come), I’ve been thinking about perseverance. It’s not easy, perseverance. To stick at something for the long haul, seeing maybe only small changes in the moment but trusting for more to come. Yet perseverance is the muscle we exercise if we are to grow through seasons of challenge when the true benefits we seek come only after the long haul. Perseverance is needed to reap the real rewards when there is no quick fix or easy way, and when the benefits themselves take time to grow. In my case, I have to stick with the rehab for the long haul to reap the benefits of strengthening, healing and re-modelling which will actually make moving much easier (and re-injury much less likely) for years to come.
2020 has been a year in which we are all having to exercise the muscle of perseverance, especially in our faith and life together. Perseverance to join in with church when it is just on screen. Perseverance to help the kids to settle and engage when our meeting together is so different to normal and new routines are so hard to form. Perseverance to push through the isolation and the loneliness of this season and to commit to connecting in new ways. Perseverance to pick up the phone again to encourage and be encouraged. Perseverance to pray. The word for a growing faith in 2020 might well be persevere.
So how are we going to persist in perseverance when it is so hard? Three ideas to start:
- Remember that struggles and trials are not meaningless in God’s hands (Romans 5:3)!
- Look for the fruit growing from perseverance and give thanks for it (James 1:2-4).
- Keep shooting adrenaline into our souls
‘Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility that he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!’ (Hebrews 12:2-3)
Persevere, friends! God isn’t finished with us yet…
Karen Reid interviews Doug and Lyn Harrison about their recent experience with COVID-19.
Links to services
Although we have not been sending reminder emails every week with the service link, the services are still online each Sunday morning as is our new normal. Here are the ways you can access the videos.
The church website
Links to services are always available here on the church website. Choose “Worship at Home” from the menu at the top of this page.
The church Facebook pages
We are now using YouTube for our weekly service video streaming in preparation for returning to live streaming when limited in-person services can commence.
You can subscribe directly to the church’s YouTube channel either by searching in YouTube for “South East Bendigo Anglican Parish” or directly via this link youtube.com/channel/UC-44AqL36PxpqsfkCmB1nIw
If you have a smart TV with YouTube built in you will now be able to access the church services directly on your TV.
Service times each Sunday morning
- Traditional service 9am
- Family service 11am
Press the button
Finally the simplest way of all – From now on, this button will be in each email weekly news update. Click on it and it will take you straight to the Worship at Home page where you will find the service links.
Church in your home?
If you are well and able, we continue to encourage you to invite someone to share the church at home service with you/your family – no more than 5 visitors of course! This is a great way to continue to build relationship and connection and to bless one another with fellowship together. We understand not everyone is in a position to be able to do this but commend it to those of you who are able.
Last week I encouraged us to be thinking about how we can be showing God’s love in our community at this challenging time. And then this arrived in my inbox as one great example – a food drive for asylum seekers and refugees in our community who are particularly vulnerable and struggling to get even the basics for life. See the attached flier for the 10 most needed food items. Items can be dropped off at the Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery, 404 Hargreaves St, Bendigo until 11th July.
What’s happening in your life?
It has been a great joy to read of different people’s reflections in our latest newsletters. And congratulations to Bill and Evelyn Wood on their 60th wedding anniversary! (which we read about in last week’s news in case you missed it).
Here is another story we received. While it took place 1999, it is a story that reminds us not only of the way God guided Eddie Barkla but is a glimpse into one of John Steele’s ministries during his lifetime and his passion to disciple people from other nations. Let us surround John Steele and his family with our love and prayer as John enters his final days here on earth..
Have you got a story to share? Perhaps share some of the kindness and love that has been shown within your family, in your street or at work. Share something you have read that has encouraged you, and strengthened your faith. Email your stories to email@example.com so we can share them with one another.
Virtual prayer time
A reminder: Andy and Verity Nicholson are hosting a short online prayer time again this Sunday 31 May at 8:20pm. All are invited and welcome.
Keep connecting, keep praying
We would like to encourage you all to be intentionally calling and keeping in contact with people within our church community and your broader community where possible. These are strange times, but many of us have been gifted extra flexible time than we normally have and calling people to stay connected is a great way to use some of it!
We are aware that many people do not have phone numbers for our members. We will be working on this in coming weeks, but for now If there is someone in particular you’d like to connect with, please feel free to go through the ministry team. We can take your number and pass it along to the other person and connect you that way.
In addition to being intentional about contact, please use this extra time to be intentional in prayer. The prayer of a righteous person (that is, every follower of Jesus) is powerful and effective! The world needs our prayers and we have the time to give them! So pray each and every day for your home, for your street, for your community, for your work colleagues, for your government, for medical workers and other essential services. Pray also for the most vulnerable and in need, whether in Australia or around the world.
Prayer at Home
The prayer guide is updated every week and is available under the Prayer at Home menu tab on the HT website. Please use them as much as possible in your prayer life.
Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.