We are all a little out of our regular routines at the moment, I think. The past month has been one of transition, uncertainty and probably anxiety for many, as what is “normal” shifts into something new.
At ICN, staff have had to adjust to working almost entirely from home. Some are able to still fill their working hours; some have had to accept that, for now, they no longer can. Staff management looks different when those you are managing are scattered and no longer all in the same office. Staff meetings and devotions are now on Zoom and communication has had to take on a new level of intentionality. Support work – so fundamentally based on being physically present for those we work with – has now taken a different shape of countless WhatsApp messages, video calls, coordinating three way phone calls with service providers and interpreters, no more home visits (for the time being) and a lot more desk time for us staff!
And amid all this comes Easter. I will admit that it crept up on me somewhat this year. Without so many of the traditional ‘markers’ that we normally observe at church services and small groups during the lead-up, it was Maundy Thursday by the time it sank in that we were going into the Easter weekend. Yet how appropriate that we should celebrate something so disruptive, uncomfortable, and transformational at a time like this. How appropriate that we should celebrate the final victory over death at a time when it seems death is winning. Christ rose from the dead in the same way that he was born – with no fanfare and no audience. After his resurrection he appeared in person to his disciples, a group of people who were choosing to stay indoors for their own safety. Sound familiar? Of course it’s not exactly the same situation, but I find it a reassuring parallel. Just because we cannot go out and about or go to church on a Sunday morning we are no further from the Lord than we used to be. It says in John 20:19 that when he met with the disciples after the resurrection the doors to the room they had gathered in were all locked. There was no way in, and yet this posed to no barrier to the resurrected Christ. If he can overcome this physical obstacle whilst on earth, we can have total confidence that a lock-down also poses no barrier to the risen and ascended Christ. God is still meeting with every believer watching an online church service, with others or alone. He is meeting with every non-believer who clicks on the link shared by their Christian friend on Facebook “just to check it out”. He is meeting with every person of every race and religion who, in desperation, calls out to a God they don’t know or don’t believe in when they are facing anxiety, illness and loneliness.
At ICN we believe that God is working in this time, that God is comforting those experiencing illness and grief and fear. We believe that He is building His people up and that when we seek Him we will find Him. And to that end, we will also continue to work for Him. We will continue to teach, to support, and to love those we encounter through our work. We will adapt as individuals and as an organisation, and we will do our best to keep you updated with how we do this, and how you can support us. Our intention is that these blog posts will be a way of doing just that – we hope to give you a flavour of what we, as staff, get up to on a daily basis – both on a “normal” day and also during this period of change. We also want to be able to reflect on the heart behind what we do and give our staff the opportunity to share with you what motivates and encourages them in their work. We are so grateful for the prayers, the encouragement and the support you provide, both financially and otherwise. If you do feel led to give to us financially, you can do so at any time through the Donate page on our website. We thank you again for standing with us in this work.
Rachael Sawers – SVPRS Support Worker
16 April 2020