In this last week, much that we have known has been turned upside down by the Coronavirus outbreak. This unseen but potentially deadly virus is threatening our way of life in many different ways. As a society, Coronavirus (or COVID-19) presents an unprecedented challenge to us all. The impact on the nation as well as our community has already been profound.
As many reading these words will be aware, the Church of Scotland’s COVID-19 Task Group gave an instruction, on Tuesday afternoon 17th March, that all worship services should cease from now until further notice. This action is an attempt to minimise the spread of the virus. Most churches in the country are taking similar steps.
As a consequence of this, all worship services and other meetings in Tarbert Church of Scotland have stopped until further notice. This news comes as a shock to us all but I am sure that people will understand that this is part of a national campaign against the further spread of this virus.
So what is our response to this? In the first place, we must never forget that God is Sovereign in all His ways. God is bigger than the Coronavirus! We might not always grasp that fact from listening to the news and daily briefings. Maybe this Pandemic is teaching us something that we should take to heart, that what is impossible for man is possible for God. Perhaps it may make us reevaluate our priorities, our appetites, our habits, and who and what we worship. In this Pandemic, we see the powerlessness of a society that has sidelined God. Perhaps this may make us understand how futile and empty the cult of celebrity, sport, music, and fashion is. When faced with such an overwhelming challenge, the rich, famous and influential have no answer and most certainly are not the answer. God alone is the answer and in these difficult and challenging days, we have to pray for God’s help, mercy and guidance.
There has never been a more critical time for us to pray. National church leaders have called for a day of prayer on Sunday 22nd March. I would invite everyone to join us in praying together in our own homes at 10 am tomorrow morning. We hope that a short video sermon will be on the website tomorrow morning, and in the days ahead.
THE TIME OF PRAYER THAT WAS PROPOSED FOR TOMORROW IN THE CHURCH WILL NOT NOW TAKE PLACE.
The Kirk Session wishes to make known to the congregation our on-going commitment and prayerful support for all associated with the congregation and the wider community at this time. We encourage people to try to keep in touch with each other as much as possible. Although it is difficult from now on to meet face to face, we hope that by telephone, email and other ways to be able to keep in touch with each other. We must remember that isolation need not be isolating. Loneliness and fear are two of Satan’s chief strategies against us, and so we must resist this by maintaining fellowship with God in prayer and with each other as best we can. If you need help in collecting shopping, medication or in any other way, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Please phone the manse on 502231 or 07879 273946 or any of the following from our A.C.T.S group who will be very glad to help
- Agnes on 502262 or 07787 587681
- Christine 50 2522 & 07917464543
- Joan 50 2495 & 07799166010
The Prime Minister has described the need for the country to be on practically a war footing to meet the challenge of this dangerous enemy virus. It is so important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that God has not changed and the God who brought us as a nation and community through two world wars will bring us through this crisis too.
May we all take this to God, and make Him our shelter and place of refuge. In this grave time, may we all take comfort in words in Psalm 57 that have been a great blessing to me.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings, I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfils his purpose for me.
May we all find refuge in God in these difficult days.
Ian Murdo Macdonald