Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Posts tagged “COVID-19

Meeting as church after COVID-19

Watching church onlineWhy change from following online services at home?

This post comes from Philip Nunn who lives in The Netherlands.

COVID-19 is here to stay. It is another serious threat humanity is learning to live with. This morning I read a thought provoking article in my local newspaper about the future of high street shopping. During these last two years of lockdowns and physical limitations, web shops have grown in popularity. Online shopping is available day and night, it makes products and suppliers easier to compare, you don’t lose time going, queuing and coming back, no parking fees and the prices are very competitive. Why would customers want to return to high street shopping? City planners, sociologists and shop owners are clearly concerned. They propose creative ways to make high street shopping an interesting and engaging experience. We Christians must also awake to the new opportunities and challenges that lay before us. Change has happened. (more…)


Freedom from lockdown

Milo, the dogAfter 106 days in lockdown, COVID-19 restrictions have eased today in Sydney, Australia, for those who are fully vaccinated. Cafes, restaurants, clubs, pubs, retail businesses and churches can reopen, 10 people are allowed to visit a home and the caps on numbers at weddings and funerals have increased dramatically. Stay at home rules and 5-kilometer travel restrictions have ended. The state now has 90.3 per cent of people aged over 16 who have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 73.5 per cent are fully vaccinated. (more…)


What does the Bible say about Christians getting vaccinations?

Should Christians get vaccinated against COVID-19?I have been asked if Christians should get vaccinated against COVID-19. As vaccination was invented in the late 18th century AD, while the New Testament was written at least 1,700 years beforehand in the 1st century AD, this topic isn’t addressed in the Bible. However, there are principles in the Bible that are relevant.

Debatable Matters

In a situation that is not sinful, whether to get a vaccination can be considered to be a debatable matter where Christians may have different opinions and convictions. These are secondary matters that are not essential to the Christian faith. The Bible distinguishes between essentials and non-essentials in the Christian faith. The essentials or fundamentals or primary matters are things which all believers should agree on. They are the tests the Bible quotes for recognizing false teachers and false ideas about things such as the person and work of Christ; the good news of salvation “by grace … through faith .. not by works” (Eph. 2:8-9); and the inspiration and authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to us. (more…)


Qantas Pilot Speaks Out About Vaccine Mandate


Graham Hood speaks out against forced vaccinations. He has been told “get the jab or no job” is to be applied to aviation workers. (more…)


The Moses statement to let God’s people worship

Can the State tell churches who can attend worship services?Churches in New South Wales (Australia) will be required to use a vaccination certificate system once 70% of the population have received at least two injections of the COVID vaccine. From mid-October, churches will be permitted to return to in-person worship on the provision that they deny entry to any member of the congregation who is not fully vaccinated. Can the State tell churches who can attend worship services? (more…)


The Ezekiel Declaration on vaccine passports

Vaccine passports would bring discrimination and medical apartheidSome church leaders have written a letter resisting the developing medical two-tiered society. They oppose the implementation of a “vaccine passport” system in Australia, which could be used to deny service and employment to people because of their private and personal medical decisions. This would be discrimination and medical apartheid against those who have legitimate concerns against a rushed COVID-19 vaccine.

The declaration presents five objections to the introduction of vaccine passports in Australia. That is, (1) The risk of creating an unethical two-tiered society; (2) The added burden on an already burdened society; (3) Government should never coerce conscience; (4) Arbitrary implementation and questionable science; (5) The inability of churches to exclude people from worship based on their medical status. (more…)


Why pray in trials and difficult times?

Premier of NSW Australia, Gladys Berejiklian, at daily 11am COVID-19 press conference In Sydney we’re all going through a tough time with an extended COVID-19 lockdown. Parents will be home schooling for two more months. Travel is restricted with stay at home rules, except for essential purposes. There are rules and restrictions on face masks, physical contact, COVID tests, COVID vaccinations, quarantine, self-isolation, and contact tracing. No visitors are allowed in hospitals and aged care nursing homes. Other services are reduced. Churches can’t meet as usual. And households are spending extended time together without relief. It’s a bit like George Orwell’s “1984” with government surveillance and propaganda. People are isolated, which can increase anxiety, fear and depression. People are working from home. Closed businesses are struggling to survive with reduced cash flow. There is reduced family income. Some are unemployed. There is a reduction in some health services. But our needs are increased because of the stress. How do we get through such tough times? Is social media the answer? Can prayer help us trust God in times like this? (more…)


Sanitize more than hands

Sanitize more than handsHow clean do you keep your hands? Hand hygiene has certainly gotten a lot of attention lately. It reminds me of one of my favorite Shakespearean scenes — Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking after she has orchestrated the murder of her king. In her sleep she sees spots of blood on her hands and no amount of washing can remove them. She smells blood on her hands and “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” them. Of course it is her conscience and not her hands that is really unclean. (more…)


Still social distancing from God?

Still social distancing from God? Get close today.It’s something you took for granted isn’t it? To hug someone hello. To shake a congratulatory hand. To hold that fresh new baby at that birthday barbecue or slap a mate on the back. It feels wrong to sidestep strangers, least of all a relative.

Since COVID-19, there are people who have left this earth in solitude and babies who have been born into the arms of parents, yet haven’t seen another face. They left the doors of the hospital and have never been passed around their village of friends and family. (more…)


Community and COVID-19

Expressing Church life in pandemic times

Four peole wearing masks greet each other by touching elbows during the COVID-19 pandemicThis post comes from Philip Nunn who lives in The Netherlands.

Now we are all concerned about the ‘second wave’. And we are told that other waves may follow. We are also told that once the vaccines arrive life will return to normal. But can these new intrusive vaccines be trusted? We hear that COVID-19 is not unique, that it is only a matter of time before other viruses will follow. We sense fear, also in Christian circles. For some time now governments have been restricting our free movement. Only last year we all thought that such severe restrictions could only happen in totalitarian states and never in our free democracies. We sense frustration and anger, also in Christian circles. Among some Christians I also sense a movement towards a comfortable self-centered existence. (more…)


Entertainment trumps worship

Church closed becauese of COVID-19The COVOD-19 rules in New South Wales, Australia, favor public entertainment above public worship.

From Monday 28 September 2020, entertainment facilities including theatres, cinemas and concert halls across NSW were able to increase capacity up to 50%, to a maximum of 1000. Alternatively, entertainment facilities may allow one person per 4 square meters on the premises, with no maximum capacity. 

If a place of public worship has multiple buildings at a single location, each building can have as many people as allowed under the 4 square meter rule, up to a maximum of 100 people or 150 people for a wedding. (more…)


Coronavirus politics

This is an appeal for calm. The number one command in scripture is “Fear not” (33 times in the ESV Bible). But there is a lot of fear. A lot of what’s happening right now in Australia, especially in Victoria, and in the world, is driven by fear. And I think that the political response is also being governed by the fear that people have. Both of those things are not helping us.

This post is based on a message by Martyn Isles of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Martyn Isles, Australian Christian Lobby - The truth of itLock-down

Victoria has the toughest lock-downs we’ve experienced at Stage 4 in 31 local government areas in Melbourne. That’s over 5 million people! There are only four reasons to leave the house: necessary work, necessary goods and services, medical care and compassionate reasons, and exercise. But exercise is limited to one hour per day within 5 km of your home. Shopping is limited to one person per household per day, within 5 km of your home. A curfew applies between 8pm and 5am, which is astonishing in a free country. And it’s the usual stuff with non-essential businesses closed. And most who still have jobs are working from home. But as a result of these measures 500,000 workers have been stood down with more to come. All this is done to save lives. But I wonder whether there is more harm being done than good? Whether we are creating fear where we shouldn’t be? (more…)


Crazy times!

Communal singing is prohibited in church in NSW, Australia!Singing prohibited!

Two weeks ago the Catholic church launched a petition for the limit on attendees at churches in New South Wales (NSW) of 10 people to be increased to the 50 person limit that applied to pubs and clubs, cafes and restaurants. This increase was granted on 1 June as the restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 are relaxed slowly. Now a maximum of 50 people (adults and children) can attend a religious service at a place of worship. But there are other requirements to fulfill like:
– People attending a religious service at a place of public worship will be required to provide their name and contact details when they enter so that they can be used for contact tracing, and
– Communal singing is prohibited! And singing with facemasks is not a current alternative.
And there is confusing advice about how many people can be in a room (Appendix A). We’re going through crazy times! (more…)


Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut

Sledgehammer and smashed nut. COVID-19 control measures are like using a sledgehammer to crack a nutDrastic measures have been taken by governments around the world to control the spread COVID-19 disease. They are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Or making a mountain out of a molehill. The measures are more stringent than are really necessary to solve the problem. They seem to be driven by fear and hysteria (Appendix A).

The control measures are justified by the saying that COVID-19 is caused by a deadly virus. But is this true? (more…)


God and COVID-19

Biblical answers to five common questions

This post comes from Philip Nunn who lives in The Netherlands.

Is COVID-19 a warning from God?This corona crisis affects all of us in different ways. Some are feeling tired of being quarantined or are losing patience with their bored children. Others are in hospitals, struggling themselves or helping those who find it difficult to breathe. Where is God in this crisis? What is an appropriate way to talk about our experience with COVID-19? We can learn from how the Lord Jesus dealt with a family disaster as described in John 11. Lazarus had died. When Jesus arrived, Martha went out to meet Him. “Lord” she said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21NIV). What follows is a theological discussion that ended with a deep revelation: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (11:25-26). Then Mary arrived. She fell at Jesus’ feet. She expressed her pain and frustration with the exact same words as her sister Martha (11:32). Towards Mary the response of Jesus was different. “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” And then, “Jesus wept” (11:33, 35). That is what Mary needed to see: the tears of her Master. Which is more important: the theological or the pastoral approach? Clearly both are. But we need sensitivity and the Lord’s guidance to know which approach is needed in each situation. (more…)


Coronavirus lockdown

A video by Philip Nunn, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
“Making the best use of time, because the days are evil”
Ephesians 5:16ESV

 

 


Grief & loss during the shutdown

Stay at home to control the spread of COVID-19Grieving with hope

We’re living in unusual times. In order to control the spread of COVID-19 we’re staying home as much as possible. People are working from home and some businesses are closed.

Some people have lost their jobs and are now unemployed. There are travel restrictions. Social activities and celebrations are cancelled. There is physical (social) distancing. We have less freedom. It’s almost like wartime. There’s economic gloom with the possibility of a depression. These are unprecedented times for us. (more…)


What does the Bible say about a major disaster like COVID-19?

What does the Bible say about COVID-19?The disease COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the world. By 11 April 2020 over 103,500 deaths have been attributed to the virus and secondary pneumonia.

What does the Bible say about a global pandemic like COVID-19?

This post is based on an article by the US theologian and author, John Piper. (more…)


There is hope

The COVID-19 pandemic is an extreme situation facing the whole world at the same timeThe headline didn’t shout. It didn’t need to. This wasn’t a slow news day. It read, ‘In one week 10% of Australia’s workforce have lost their jobs’. In India, a nation of 1.3 billion people were given four hours notice to lock down inside their homes for 21 days. People found outside afterwards were subsequently beaten.

Always, in the world somewhere, there’s an extreme situation – a flood, a famine, a war. Less frequent, though, are situations involving the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic is such a time. (more…)


Three lessons from COVID-19

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)The disease COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the world. By 4 April 2020 over 58,900 deaths have been attributed to the virus and secondary pneumonia. Governments have introduced stringent measures to combat it, which are having negative social and economic impacts.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. It is contagious in humans and is the cause of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that was designated a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. (more…)


War on Coronavirus

South Korean soldiers spray disinfectant at Dongdaegu railway stationA message from Europe

The world is at war against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19.

This post comes from Philip Nunn who lives in The Netherlands.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. They have been causing problems for a number of decades now. The new version we are currently fighting was first transmitted to humans in Wuhan, China, towards the end of 2019. Since then it has remained in the headlines of all our newspapers and news bulletins. Last month the World Health Organization gave this coronavirus disease the new name COVID-19, and five weeks later declared it a pandemic. Presidents, Prime Ministers and others in authority are now busy closing national borders, events, shops and schools. They are imposing restrictions on our freedom of movement which have never before been used in peacetime. You may still think it is all fake news, you may think the restrictions are too strict, or far to slow and too lax. Like it or not, the world is now at war with this coronavirus! How are you reacting? Are you fearful or frustrated? Is your faith in God strengthening you in this time of worldwide crisis? Perhaps with a little more time on your hands, it may be worthwhile taking some time to consider what the Bible has to say about the spreading of bad things. (more…)


How to respond to the coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 response measures include: social distance, wash hands, & clean surfacesToday Frank told me, “It feels like I’m in jail”. He is elderly and lives alone. But because of Government regulations, he is unable to attend the men’s social group at his local community centre. So he is now socially isolated because he has few opportunities for contact with other people.

This post is based on a message by Dave Sheath of the Lakes Church at Tuggerah in NSW Australia. It looks at how we can respond to the world-wide coronavirus pandemic. (more…)


Trials, struggles and COVID-19

The global distribution of COVID-19 on 24 March 2020

Another message from Ian Taylor in Winconsin, USA while he is in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What can we do when difficult times come? How can we understand what’s going on? We need to remember that God is still in control.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Pt. 5:8-9NIV). (more…)


You don’t have to fear!

Reasons why Christians don't have to fear COVID-19A message from Ian Taylor in Winconsin, USA while he is in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

David: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Ps 5:3NIV).

David: “As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice” (Ps 55:16-17). (more…)