After the Pandemic
Donald A. G. Burling
Things are changing.
A few weeks ago I observed that the queue outside a local supermarket had given place to a queue outside a hairdresser.
We hope that before long all such queues will have disappeared, and life will have returned to something like normal.
Not, however, for the businesses that have collapsed, nor for the people who have lost their livelihoods and may be threatened
with eviction from their homes. Is there anything we can do to help them?
What about the churches?
As we are able once again to open the doors to everyone without restriction, will all those who used to attend come back?
It seems likely that some of the less committed will have got used to staying away, and will not be in a hurry to return.
Will we love them enough to go after them, not in a heavy-handed way but to make them understand that they are missed?
There is good evidence that the threat of Covid19 has provoked people to think about issues of life and death, and
that the various on-line church services have attracted the attention of many who were previously unchurched. Will these
now find their way into churches? We may hope so - but will we be ready for them? They will not dress, talk or
think like us, and may ask us some awkward questions. Yet if we can get over these difficulties, their presence among
us could do us a lot of good.
I remember reading about Billy Graham's 1954 London campaign, when over 38,000
who responded were directed to churches in their home areas. The tragedy was that a very large proportion of them were
disappointed. Some churches regarded them as unwelcome intruders, while others tried to welcome them but did not know
how. New converts often find it difficult to understand the easy-going complacency which has become the norm in most
We hesitate to think of God as sending diseases, yet there are several examples of that in the
Old Testament. It may be that He has sent this pandemic to shake us up. If its lessons are truly learned, we may
in the end have reason to be thankful for it.
Elsewhere in this Newsletter: