The English minister and theologian William Taylor gave a series of talks at a Christian convention a few years ago entitled Understanding the Times. The world, at the present time, is hard to understand. The last few days have seen supermarket shelves almost stripped bare not just of toilet paper, but all sorts of food from tinned vegetables to fresh meat. International airline travel has almost ground to halt. Because gatherings of more than 100 people are not allowed, church services, weddings and even funerals are being cancelled.
The times in which we now live are unprecedented, frightening for many and a great challenge to determine how each of us should respond.
The great theologian Martin Luther sought to understand the times about 500 years ago during the black plague. Luther's pastoral advice, in circumstances not entirely dissimilar to the challenges the world faces today, were:
I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbour needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy.
From Martin Luther, Works v. 43, p. 132. Letter "Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague" written to Rev. Dr. John Hess.
As we face the challenges of risks to our health, risks to our employment security and finances and as we carry the burden of caring for those close to us, what does the Bible teach us about facing these challenges? We should:
- Look to Jesus as the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)
- Be patient, kind, gentle and self-controlled (Galatians 5: 22-23)
- Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)
- Not be anxious, but pray (Philippians 4:6)
- Remember that God is with us, not be frightened and be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9)
As I seek to understand the times as they relate to our school, our highly dedicated, loving staff are thoroughly committed to:
- Providing a deeply caring Christian education to every student who comes to school.
- Supplying work through the Junior School online hub, or Secondary School Google Classrooms, for those students who are currently at home.
- Preparing for the likelihood of all of our students learning at home online for an unknown period of time.
Shire Christian School will continue to operate as I have just described until either the government changes their current position or we cannot continue to teach and care for students who come to school and also reasonably provide work to our students who are currently learning at home. Please be assured that we are doing all we can to keep the school open, safe and running smoothly, which I think we are doing extremely well.
I wrote to all parents at the beginning of the week outlining the practical steps the school is taking in response to the challenges presented by the coronavirus. I trust that parents found this information helpful. When circumstances change or we have significant new information I will write again.
Mr Brett Hartley
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