The Sunday Refill – 7 Links for Your Weekend (29/3/20)

I saw someone post on Facebook the other day that they were desperate for something to talk about that wasn’t Coronavirus. On one level, we understand that – and yet, the nature of what we face is that this isn’t a passing event or trend. It seems to present a whole new landscape of life. We live in culture-shock and grief, both for what has happened and what will happen.

Combine this with the fact that we have – at least to some degree – more time on our hands, then it’s no wonder that there’s all manner of Corona-content to be discovered online.

So, like last week, in the Refill we’ve largely gone for seven areas, rather than seven specific links. Don’t be overwhelmed by this. Pick what grabs you or what might be useful to you this week. Then make sure you give yourself some disconnection time too…

1) How the World Worshipped on One of the Most Unusual Sundays in Church History – Ok, so it’s probably something we’re going to have to get used to – whether on/off or not. But it’s worth reflecting and pausing on the significance of last Sunday (and this article is basically some fun global photos of people’s homes). For that reason, Andrew Wilson is encouraged that Coronavirus may well be making us more like the New Testament church. Ian Paul makes sure we’re thinking theologically: ‘What is the meaning of “online church”?‘ By the way, when it comes to Sunday ‘virtual’ gatherings, this video on Understanding Copyright for Your Streamed Worship is helpful – along with the links.

2) Discipling our Kids During Isolation – Some really helpful stuff from the team at 10ofthose in this article, grouped into age appropriate wisdom (i.e. toddlers, primary school, teens). Do give it a read. Also worth noting for the kids: the Good Book Company have given permission for people to read their brilliant children’s books on church live streams and social media posts – and there’s a number of video readings like the fab, The Garden, The Curtain & The Cross here. Christian kids’ singer-songwriter Colin Buchanan is recording some free-to-download videos that seem perfect for online church (we’re using one today) – get them here. And it just gets better: the epic Awesome Cutlery are playing a live gig on their Youtube channel on Monday at 4pm.

3) Music – We all need a soundtrack amidst these crazy times. The Gray Havens are fab folksy Christian couple who have lots of Tolkienesque lyrics to their songs. They played an acoustic concert this week – you can watch it here. I know a lot of people are listening in to Olly Knight leading singing on midweek mornings – and Olly’s written a beautiful track, ‘You Hold the World’, in the past week or so – give it a listen and get your heart warmed by good news. EMU Music’s recent song, ‘Creation Awaits’, is also timely.

4) Ethics & Care – This is a very important video from GP Andy Knox on care planning amid COVID-19. Perhaps worth every extended family watching and discussing. Russell Moore also notes the importance of seeing that every human life is precious. Mel Lacy offers some very helpful wisdom on caring for single people, for whom this might be an especially challenging time. To give you some more ideas, 10 ways churches can help during the coronavirus pandemic gives a helpful practical guide to serving as churches and individuals. 

5) Mission & Ministry amidst Coronavirus – Last week I shared about a handy little leaflet, ‘Hope Beyond Coronavirus’, that shares the gospel into the context of Coronavirus. Its writer, evangelist Roger Carswell, has now recorded a video of him sharing the message visuallyAnd if you want to hear from those who have ‘gone before us’, this interview with Mark Oden, a church pastor in Naples, Italy, has a bunch of ideas and reflection.

If you haven’t shared with local press about what you’re upto as a church, why not try that? We got a positive response when we did. And reports like this on ITV do suggest this is an opportunity to engage with people who wouldn’t ordinarily go to the church. Along those lines, the ‘Evangelism in Lockdown’ podcast episode from Speak Life sees a number of Christians from different contexts share their reflections and experiences so far on ‘reaching out when we can’t go out’.

6) Culture Shifts and Grief: Leading Beyond the Blizzard: Why Every Organization Is Now a Startup – This interview with Andy Crouch is well worth engaging with. For church ministers especially, this offers some particular guidance on leading congregations through trauma and tragedy. I’ve also seen a couple of engaging pieces on grief and anxiety in the secular press. ‘That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief‘ is a fascinating interview with grief expert David Kessler, and similarly therapist Julia Samuel looks at managing anxiety. There’s some fascinating quotes, as pointed out by Jeremy Marshall: “We seem happy to talk about sex or failure, or to expose our deepest vulnerabilities, but on death we are silent. It is so frightening, even alien, for many of us that we cannot find the words to voice it… the pain we feel is invisible, an unseen wound.” Praise God for the gospel.

7) When Will My Life Begin? – For something a bit different, turn away now if the idea of watching a family ‘stay-at-home’ montage to a Disney soundtrack makes your gag… but we enjoyed making this and hope it might raise a smile amidst everything else…!

Quote of the Week: 

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”

— Anon.

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Written by Robin Ham