We welcome you, Twenty Twenty.

Did you feel the mountains tremble?
Did you hear the oceans roar?
When the people rose to sing of
Jesus Christ the risen one. (Part of a song by Delirious)

When the music fades, lights dimmed, everything is stripped away-I needed to hit Home again… In the beginning, there is the Word.

Three months into a supposedly exciting new year, all charged up with a 20/20 vision in the hope of becoming a people of vision (Prov 29:18) and not of worldly sights, however, it has been the most undesirably fear-filled first quarter of Twenty-twenty. Wrapping up twenty nineteen, we somehow knew times are bad, economy isn’t doing well, employment market is slow, but maybe, just maybe, things may pick up in bits here and there. All our hopes for the better turned into ashes when we first heard of the Wuhan-disease, then Corona-virus Epidemic, and now, COVID-19 Pandemic.

I supposed, we are all well-informed with many public information flying over and above our heads on COVID-19 virus and the Pandemic with responses in view of tightening measures to prevent further damages to the best of what we can do, to preserve humanity. Various schools and institutions are closed, business continuity plans activated in work places, retail businesses are slowing down more than ever, even friends and family members need to practise social distancing, religious gatherings are suspended, cancelled flights, circuit breakers, lockdowns, increase in reported cases of the infected, dead bodies piling up in many parts of the world–we are in very deep trouble! Fear has crept into our hearts and crippling us in every possible way.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Being a truely blessed tail-end Gen-X, borned provided-for and lived reasonably comfortable all my life, from a developing to now, a developed island, it suddenly dawned on me that I knew not what this Freedom is meant to be. I was actually feeling depressingly helpless for a while by the fact that we can no longer get to even choose to gather as God’s people. How should people of faith and who believe in healing handle this crisis? Does it mean to have no faith when we handle this crisis in response to the law? Is social responsibility of faith or not of faith? I chanced upon this article “How Pentecostals Responded to the 1918 “Spanish Influenza” Pandemic” and thought it is a good reference since the people of faith have endured in the past and made it through. Yet, another theological reflection “The “Crown” in the Coronavirus” written by Timothy Tennent, presenting the application of Truths we may know so we can learn to respond, not just to a law but respond to law in the spirit of Jesus where perfect love casts out fear. Of course, there are many more restrictions in place that affected our lives and this Freedom that is taken away from us is definitely not just about being restricted to stay at home but a freedom to live the lives we had intended it to be. We are confronted even more literally with our innate fears on life and death. Our fallenness has brought about a tendency to want to be in control. We have been building our tower of babel tirelessly for fear of losing. The more we have, the more we fear.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1) Our God sent His Son to redeem us from the bondages of sin, freely He gave to us but He paid for this Freedom with the blood of Christ. It was not free for Him. I can talk til the cows come home theoretically but it actually took a pandemic for me to realise how precious this Freedom is. Rightly or wrongly, I am grateful and thanking God for my government with their swift responses and proactively plan, lead and guide us to keep the virus contained as much as possible, to minimise more exposure to the spreading of the virus, cushioning us from possibly harsher reality and causing further damages to the economy and our lives. I am grateful too, for technology, that we can still be connected, in a way or another, to one another, even across the borders.

Regardless, staying connected isn’t just about the availability and viability of technology. Even with the most advanced communication means and tools, if the hearts are unwilling, there will not be any connection. It takes a willing heart to join with another to stay connected.

What a way to welcome you, Twenty twenty–A pandemic, the wake-up call; a circuit breaker or a lock-down, the reset (hope it is not too late) for our body, mind, heart and soul; a reconnect to what is lost, the dependence we ought to have with God, the Creator of this universe and our Heavenly Father who sent His Son to die for us.

May we continue to be like the disciples in the early Christian church, to be devoted to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42 ESV), to stay connected vertically and horizontally, to be a people of vision that will emerge from this Pandemic.

Footnotes:

The “Crown” in the Coronavirus: A Theological Reflection on the COVID-19 Pandemic by Timothy Tennent, viewed on 20 March, 2020 https://timothytennent.com/2020/03/18/the-crown-in-the-coronavirus-a-theological-reflection-on-the-covid-19-pandemic/

How Pentecostals Responded to the 1918 “Spanish Influenza” Pandemic, viewed on 7 April 2020 https://influencemagazine.com/en/Theory/How-Pentecostals-Responded-to-the-1918-Spanish-Influenza-Pandemic

(Featured image: Jurong Lake Gardens, Singapore; February 2020)

His beautiful & relentless love makes a soul relentlessly beautiful.

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