Tuesday Update 18
Dear brothers and sisters,
I wonder if you’ve been in the shops yet, or on public transport, since the face-mask rule came in? I’ve used one a few times now, and it does take a bit of getting used to – both in terms of personal comfort, and also in terms of interacting with others.
It reminds me of a story from Basel, Switzerland – where every year there is a carnival (called Fasnacht) that was always a wild affair, with much debauchery taking place. Everyone knew what went on, though they didn’t know who the perpetrators were, because the people all wore masks.
Each year the Salvation Army would use the carnival season to promote the gospel in a very striking way. All round the city the Army placed billboards and posters with the message: “Gott sieht hinter deine Maske!” Which translates: “God sees behind your mask.”
The point is that God knows what's going on within a person. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” God told Samuel.
I suppose there is an extent to which we all wear masks – we like people to see the best of us, and would hate for them to see our weaknesses and failures. It’s told that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, sent a telegram as a joke one night to the 12 most respected people he could think of. It read: “Flee! All is revealed!” Within 24 hours, six of those people had left the country in a panic!
Part of the wonder of the gospel is that God sees behind our mask, and still loves us – loves us enough to have sent his Son to die for us. Isn’t that amazing?! God knows the things about us that nobody else knows – even the very thoughts of our hearts. We should rejoice to be the recipients of such love, and marvel at such grace, that knows our inmost (and maybe darkest) secrets and provides for us with a full redemption that saves to the uttermost all those who come to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith.
So let us not seek to wear a mask before God – it is both futile (nothing is hidden from his all-seeing gaze) and unnecessary (for the sacrifice of Christ at the cross is able to take away all sin). Let us be real before God – confessing our sins; striving for righteousness; seeking to be real with God, and for his Son to be real in us.
Service this week
This week (DV) we’ll be looking at Q.23 in the Shorter Catechism, which looks at the three-fold office of Christ – how he is our Prophet, Priest and King. Then we’ll give some thought to Psalm 40, about waiting patiently for the Lord in times of trouble and distress.
Easing of Lockdown Latest
The Free Church COVID-19 group is awaiting further detailed guidance from the Scottish Government to assist places of worship to reopen for congregational activities, and anticipate this will be published this week.
Our own elders and deacons here in Falkirk will be meeting by Zoom on Thursday evening to discuss plans for moving forward towards re- opening. This will include enhanced hygiene measures, social distancing and a full risk assessment.
Please do pray for wisdom for our leaders as they make these important decisions, and be assured that you will be kept informed as we move forward. It will not be possible to go immediately back to how things were before the virus struck – there will be significant differences and limitations from what we’re accustomed to – but the day is coming when we will be able to gather once more on the Lord’s Day for worship and fellowship. Let us look forward to the day, and be patient meantime.
I’ll be compiling the prayer update tomorrow, Wednesday. If there is anything you’d like to be included, please call or email me by 12-noon – especially if you or your family are self-isolating/ symptomatic, or have any kind of particular requests.
With all good wishes,