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Splendid Isolation

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Apr, 2020 08:12 PM

For many, self-isolation means loneliness and separation from loved ones, for others it is a time to catch up on all those jobs that they have been meaning to do for years, but for many Christians, it has provided one-to-one time with God.

Splendid Isolation

Courtesy St John's Weymouth on Facebook

Geoffrey Murray of St Mary’s Weymouth reflects on the positives of his self-isolation.

"Isolation is nothing new for me – an only child quickly learns how to entertain himself!

"I spent decades as a foreign correspondent and university lecturer in various parts of the Far East, surrounded by endless hordes, yet it somehow became a wilderness filled with loneliness, losing touch with God, believing he’d deserted me when times were bad; it wasn’t true – all the desertion was on my side!

"Now, I am in self-isolation in Weymouth, yet far from alone. For one thing, I constantly feel God’s presence. Indeed, He’s always been there, patiently waiting for me to reach out and seek His guidance.

"My faith has never been stronger. From a temporary home in Australia (after 24 years in China), I was guided to return to the UK, and on to Weymouth and a welcoming church where I can serve God by reading lessons, leading prayers, participating in church management and using a God-given gift in writing to speak of His love and how we should seek to pass this on.

"Self-isolation can actually bring benefits – more time to study the Bible, more time to pray, following the example of our Saviour, who certainly knew the benefits of meditation in the wilderness communing with His Father [Luke 5:16 ‘But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray’].

"In these dangerous times, Christian-based fellowship is vital. ‘We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us, and... with the Father and with His son Jesus Christ.’ [1 John 1:3] Each day, I get messages from friends far and wide offering support and encouragement – a lady in China even sent me some masks! I previously worshipped at St George’s Cathedral in Perth, Western Australia, and still write Bible commentaries for its blog The Word & Way.

"Now, I’ve been invited to join a Cathedral Bible study group using the video-conferencing facility Zoom. Hardly a day goes by without God opening a new door and encouraging me to enter.

"I don’t minimise the suffering of families losing someone to the Covid-19 pandemic – indeed, I pray for them constantly – but I hope we can use this opportunity as a community to place God and His church at the centre of all daily life, creating unity and good out of something bad."

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