Keeping in touch during lockdown is really important. We long to see our loved ones and friends. At Glasgow City Mission too, we are longing to see the folk who normally come to our buildings. We’re longing to see the children back at the nursery and to meet up with the mums and dads again. Zoom meetings and phone calls just aren’t the same!
Good, healthy relationships are important at any time, not just in times of crisis. Isolation is not beneficial for us. “It is not good for the man to be alone,” God says in Genesis after he has created the first human being. (Genesis 2:18) We need to be in touch and encouraging one another.
This is a major theme in the New Testament – it is no accident that so many of its books are actually letters! When Paul wrote to the church in Rome he said, “I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Romans 1:11) It was important to Paul to be in touch with his brothers and sisters in Christ so they could encourage one another. Building and maintaining relationships is a two-way thing.
In fact, it is a relationship which is at the heart of our faith: not doctrine or moral teaching (although these are important) – but a continuing relationship with God. In the days before his death, Jesus told the disciples that they would not be left alone. (John 14:26) He wanted them to continue to live in the way that he had taught them. He knew they would not be able to do that on their own. So He said He’d send the Holy Spirit to be with them, help them and to continue to teach them. In this way, the relationship would continue.
In Matthew’s gospel, when Jesus was back with them after His resurrection, He instructed them to go and make disciples all over the world, to baptize and teach others the things He had taught them. (Matthew 28:16-20) And once again He assured them that He would never leave them.
Pray and encourage
So as we continue with lockdown, let’s encourage and pray for one another. Please pray in particular for our international guests and volunteers. They are far away from their families and friends and communication with loved ones can be difficult even when there is no pandemic to contend with.
And as we all wait for the time when we can get together again, remember Jesus’ words: “Surely I am with you always – even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)