(Ballycastle beach, 20/6/20)
Exactly seven years ago the first proper blog post on emeraldscribe was published. It seems a lifetime ago, and yet it is quite apt and timely for now.
Never could we quite have imagined in 2013, 7 years on we would be in an over 3 month lockdown from a Chinese originated, global pandemic-inducing virus.
(Here’s that original post shared with you all:
Never could we have quite imagined then that within 7 years, control and arguable Governmental over-reach would be so prevalent and real in Northern Ireland that our Churches and ability to legally gather to worship God in Ulster would be completely curtailed and shut down for other three full months, (set to be almost four by the time any restricted gatherings are allowed again) with an ongoing unprecedented indefinite ban on singing – praising and worshipping the living God – set to be on the horizon, even as gatherings in restricted ways recommence. (Unless of course people power steps in, on the latter issue. That would be a game changer. Politicians here in NI are listening, to a certain degree within their limited devolved powers. Final Governmental decisions will be made on the matter by 25th June).
But given the level of citizen apathy, general approval and allowance of all measures so far, with very little questioning or healthy scrutiny, it’s hard to see that happening. (Though very happy for all of you reading to make that statement become very wrong. Lobby your politicians and Church leaders if so. ) Why should people’s spiritual and mental health needs, and need and human right to corporately praise their God, be ignored and blocked any longer, and more catastrophically detrimentally, by global Governmental decisions (it’s not just coming from Stormont!) due to a virus now largely eradicated from the Emerald Isle, and which never had the long awaited surge we were all fear-duped into believing would come in the first instance? Praise God indeed. He has answered prayer and fasting and powerfully protected our ‘wee land.’ I give Him all the glory for how quiet things have been. But with our economy and therefore entire country going down the pan, let’s not give any more footing over to the enemy.
People want to have their country back and and have freedom to go praise him. If droplet threats are deemed safe enough from the barbers and hairdressers, due to be in extremely close bodily nearness to other humans from 6th July onwards, then why isn’t it deemed safe enough for worshippers to (stand apart if needs be, by all means) sing on Sunday 5th July? It simply does not add up. And arguably, thinking intelligent Christians and worshippers ought not to be buying it. If I am one of the few with backbone and courage enough to challenge and/or scrutinize, from a place of honour and respect, then so be it.
Worship, and praise, have as much of a right to be facilitated, encouraged and freely allowed in coming weeks, as alcholics’ rights to purchase and drink vodka and people getting (much needed!) close proximity hair cuts.
After all, this land is a historic land of saints and scholars who have never ever been silenced from singing or prevented from corporate worship ever before.
This period of Church closure and silence is completely unheard of in Irish history.
Historic “draconian” worship closures – not my words but the words of the First Minister Arlene Foster this week.
Isn’t it time to think about this and re-claim freedoms more, not sit back and passively allow everything going on, (for this pandemic strange time is far, far from over) without greater high regard for people’s spiritual, mental and physical health – aside from covid -to be neglected and ignored any longer?
And follow the ‘ancient paths’ Jeremiah spoke of. Walking in faith, from a place of rest.
The Emerald Isle was never a place designed by God to be prevented from worshipping or praising the Almighty. Its beauty and created splendour alone provokes it.
Why should covid-19 facilitate that absence of corporate praise and worship any longer?
One could argue that if Christians really believed what they say they believe, they (and more to the point, their leaders) would be lovingly challenging all this all a wee bit more.
Hebrews is very clear, we are not to give up meeting together, and Jesus himself said we’re to worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4). How do we fully do this if our mouths are closed from fully praising him? Bound by fear and control, instead of liberated in praise.
As ever, feel free, of course, very free, to disagree. Very happy to stir further thought and behind scenes debate.
Ballycastle was looking great earlier today:
Thanks for stopping by.
Check back again very soon.