The View from the Vicarage: Putting God First in Lockdown

Today we move on in the Acts of the Apostles to Chapter 5:27-33 and here we see the apostles in trouble again, despite our reading earlier in the week they are still taking no real notice of the council of the Sanhedrin.

There is a sting as Peter says to the council ““We must obey God rather than human beings!” In a time of additional laws albeit for a limited but not fixed time that are curtailing our freedom these words may sound odd. Can I be clear, we as Christians are called to submit to authority and in these times of COVID19 we must socially distance, we must only make essential trips, we must care for our community and our carers.

But the reading is not about civil disobedience it is about putting God first in our lives. The apostles, this early church must put God first, that means following Gods commands, following the calling Jesus gave them – we have that calling too. We however have the liberty to do that here with no persecution or fear and for that we must thank God.

What then does it mean to put God first in our lives today, for me it has always been clear in the words of Jesus, words that we hear in regular communion services as well as read in the Gospel (Matthew 22:37-40) “ “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Those are the two tests on our thoughts and actions as both individuals and as a church, first love God, then love your neighbour as yourself. When I see protests against COVID19 Lockdown measures in the USA it saddens me greatly , when I see some churches proclaiming that God will save them and these measures are not needed it angers me.

God does protect us and sometimes dare I suggest he does them through our leaders and legislators, through our lockdown and restrictions.  I also know he protects us through a committed amazing group of people who care for us as a vocation and passion and put themselves on the frontline – our NHS and Carers.

So if anyone asks right now, despite the uncertainty of timescales and the future what loving God first and then your neighbour as yourself looks like – it looks like staying in, it looks like social isolation when you must go out, and it looks like praying for all who care for us.

Stay safe, stay in and #clapforourcarers

Here is our hymn for tonight, an old favourite of mine from the early 1900’s by Percy Dearmer

God is love: his the care,
tending each, ev’rywhere,
God is love, all is there!
Jesus came to show him,
that we all might know him!

None can see God above;
we can share life and love;
thus may we Godward move,
finding him in creation,
holding ev’ry nation. 

Jesus lived on the earth,
hope and life brought to birth
and affirmed human worth,
for he came to save us
by the truth he gave us.

To our Lord praise we sing,
light and life, friend and King,
coming down, love to bring,
pattern for our duty,
showing God in beauty.

Sing aloud, loud, loud!
sing aloud, loud, loud!
God is good! God is truth!
God is beauty! Praise him!

Your friend and vicar!




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