It’s better than the BBC. For if you’re interested in a first-hand report as to what is happening these days in the United Kingdom, and more specifically, on Fairmeadows Way in the Midlands, the news from our five-year old granddaughter Talitha can’t be beat.
Assisted by her older brother Jed, and her younger sister, Madi, Tali has taken to composing an almost daily report, dictating it to her mom who in turn is churning it out on an old fashioned typewriter. And among the hard-hitting reports last week was an entry labeling Corona Virus as a “Fun Stopper” for kids and another article asking if masks are on the way to England. After all, the story explains, “in Texas and other states in America, masks are now the new normal.” (The reader was informed that if so, “the Harvey family has plans to make their own animal face masks.”)
The missive also includes a Gardening Report, commenting that “after a surprise late spring frost, gardeners are busy planting new seeds and checking on old ones” but that “lots of sprouts are coming up” all the same. There’s a Weather Report too, letting readers know, for example, that “today was partly sunny but it was perfect weather for a family bike ride.”
Most significantly, the latest issue has a headline reading “Church Is Closed…and Open,” explaining that the church building remains closed again this weekend (and will be through the summer in England, at least according to the Prime Minister) but “the church is still alive in the people.”
And at the risk of pointing out the wonder of genetics, I couldn’t have said it better. For as we stumble forward midway in yet another month of the global pandemic, the church around the world remains alive indeed “in the people.” In the numerous ways in which congregations like our own have continued to reach out to those in need, and even in the dedication which so many have shown in logging onto livestreams, we’ve demonstrated beyond debate that you can close our doors but you can’t close our hearts.
We’re working, of course, on a re-entry plan and hope to be able to have those who are comfortable doing so return to live worship in our super-sanitized sanctuary in June, even while we keep the livestream lively for our saints who may be more vulnerable to catching the coronavirus from others. And when we resume live worship there will be a different feel to it as we’ll adapt it to the public health guidelines intended to keep everyone healthy.
But in the meantime, I’m happy to share in Tali’s assessment that the church is still alive in the deepest understanding of what being the “gathered people” (even if still a little separated) is all about. In fact, it appears that lots of sprouts are coming up when it comes to faith as well. For as Psalm 8 reminds us, even out of the mouths of children, God has ordained His strength.
I’ll let you know if there’s any more breaking news from across the pond. But in the meantime, just in case you were wondering, it was “mostly sunny” last week with a high of twelve degrees Celsius… whatever that means.