How to live well in isolation (Download this Document)
You can’t really do this. You can’t live well in isolation. We are made for relationships – relationships with God, with each other. Social isolation is used as a punishment and torture. So, whilst you are in physical isolation, don’t cut yourself off. Stay in contact with family and with church family. Please use your phone to speak to each other. It is a deeper human contact than just text. Text, even better, letters, can carry messages that last, but hearing the other person’s voice connects us. Phone. Phone. Phone.
The government has imposed isolation on us to keep us and others safe. It is frightening to know there is a threat to us. Fear can affect us like alcohol – it lowers our sensitivities to those around us. Fear is behind panic buying. God tells his people not to be afraid. I have read, but can’t confirm, that the most common command in the Bible is ‘do not be afraid’. A search on Bible Gateway indicates that God says it 70 times. Often the command goes with a reason – ‘do not be afraid, I am your God’ or ‘I am with you’. Trust in someone bigger or stronger drives out fear of a threat. Children are reassured when parents are there to protect. Our God is bigger than Covid-19. He tells us, ‘do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God will be with you’ (Philippians 4:6,7). Pray. Pray. Pray.
Some of us are preoccupied with working from home, home-schooling your children or caring for an elderly relative (tips for families below). Others have more time than usual on our hands. How will you use it? When we all come out of isolation, what will you tell others you did with your time? Here are some suggestions:
- Spend more time than normal praying
- Read the Bible. You could read a chapter a day of The Gospel according to Mark to prepare you for Easter – you ‘ve got 16 days to go! Don’t just fill your mind with TV shows or Youtube clips. Let God’s word change you.
- Learn some Bible verses. You might be bored of singing ‘Happy Birthday to you’ twice every time you wash your hands. Why not pin up a Bible passage to read and read and read – until you learn it – whilst you are washing your hands. (You could start with Ephesians 2:8-10.)
- Families could make Bible reading together part of the daily routine. An organisation called Faith in Kids has podcasts for families with primary-school aged children.
- Watch the daily morning prayers (Bible reading, short talk and prayers) run by St Ebb’s Church, Oxford – 8.45- 9.00 a.m. each morning.
- Work through the 5 minute videos of common English phrases that came from the Bible. It is called ‘Reading Between the Lines.’ Maybe you’ll be able to explain parts of the Bible when they come up conversation.
- Get out a Christian book that you own but have never got around to reading. Read it and tell a friend what you are learning.
- If you have more background in Bible reading, you could work through The Bible Project podcast series on God.
- For any parents struggling to find materials for teaching your children, Rob Simpson kindly passed on these recommended resources.
Phone. Phone. Phone. Pray. Pray. Pray.