Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
 4Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Saviour,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Psalm 25:4-6
 
Here are three kinds of reaction to our changing situation that I presume to describe: the anxious, the blasé and the contrarian.  Some of us are anxious by nature and we worry. Imagined catastrophes prey on our minds. We see people standing close together and flinch in horror. Coronavirus can easily become a festival of dread, as we trawl, transfixed, through news websites and social media links. We have to tear ourselves away and breathe deeply, run 8km or put on Mozart to calm down. Some of us are blasé: ‘It’s just a kind of flu. What is this social distancing thing anyway? Crazy! I can’t believe my gym just closed!’ Lastly, some of us are contrarian, a bit anti-authoritarian. When the experts line up and tell us we must do this and can’t do that, we think, ‘Give me liberty or give me death!’ Well, not quite, but we are tempted to shake hands and to throw dinner parties, and say ‘Why can’t churches remain open? How can we let the powers just shut us down?’
 
For  the anxious, the challenge of this moment might be to learn courage as we take to heart the truth of the fatherly care of God. Jesus said to his disciples. ‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.’ And he asks ‘Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’ The reality of a heavenly Father’s care does not mean bad things will not happen. They can and do. But they do not need to terrify us. Bad things can happen, yet they need not weaken, deform and empty us. In and through bad things God can and does work good for us. They are still bad things, hard things, painful things, but they can be productive things, educative things, strengthening things. ‘Endure hardship as discipline, God is treating you as his children.’ (Hebrews 12:7) Parents these days might wish to shield their children from all the hardship they can, but God parents us with hardships. See if you can’t learn to trust that word and embrace what may and will go wrong and be hard in life as lessons in the always-open school of God. 
Being blasé is probably a rapidly dwindling category – so last week. But for the blasé, the challenge of this moment is to realise that emergencies can arise and break up the patterns of the life we thought would always be. If we presume that all will always be well, we will be unready and unfit for the needs of the extraordinary moment. Watchfulness and alertness are Christian virtues: ‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.’ Don’t be the one who sits with a martini and a stupid smile oblivious to the need to man the lifeboats. Pay attention. ‘The prudent see danger and take refuge’ (Proverbs 22:3). ‘Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.’ (Eph 5:16-7) How can you help?
 
Lastly the contrarians may need to suppress their ingrained reflex of non-co-operation and suspicion of directives. We may not like these edicts from the government that we can’t go to church to worship the living God (Harrumph!), but let’s recall Paul: ‘Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. … Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.’ We may like to complain about how unreasonable and foolish the government is being, but how would you like their job right now? ‘Honour the emperor’ (1 Peter 2:17). So if the emperor tells you, on advice received, to wash your hands, stay home, practice social distancing, get into that. Nail it.
 
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken.
My salvation and my honour depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8
St Matthew's Everywhere
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Ministry Opportunities
In this season there are new ministry opportunities and needs for our Church family. We are particularly in need of people with technology skills such as video production, editing, websites or other areas that might help to connect us at this time. We are also in need of equipment for those things if you are able to lend it.
 
As ministries to our church family begin in a whole range of new ways, we would love to hear from you how you think you might serve. If you can serve or even if you have an idea for serving, email us at hello@stmatthews.com.au or call 
(08) 9381 2640. 
How can we help?
As a church, St Matthew's is looking to ways we can care for all in need during this time. If you find yourself in need physically, spiritually, or socially, please reach out to us. Email us at hello@stmatthews.com.au or call (08) 9381 2640. 
For the most up to date information, please check our website www.stmatthews.com.au
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