Last night my husband asked what my goals during lockdown were. Flabbergasted, I had no answer; this was not something I’d considered. I assumed lockdown was a time to put my head down and keep to myself…But the more I thought about that, it just seemed a little selfish!
It was then that I remembered a comment I saw in our Facebook Group for Pastors & Leaders about how Mark Reilly (Pastoral Team Leader at Camden Baptist) has made room for serving during lockdown: ‘I do driveway visits, grocery shopping for those who can’t get out and help out families with their kids by taking them for a kick with the footy and praying with them about their concerns…Phone calls, emails, texts – pretty much any way I can help my church family get through this together.’
I asked Mark why he was putting so much energy into others during this time, and he shared that a 93-year-old lady was his inspiration. “She said to me: ‘I’d rather die of Covid than of loneliness’. It made me decide: ‘No one is going to die of loneliness on my shift’,” Mark explained. “Obviously, I don’t want to be the one to give someone Covid! But I also don’t want that to be the excuse for me not caring.” Mark knows that everybody is ‘Zoomed-out’; people are working over Zoom, the kids are doing school over Zoom…the last thing he wants to do is add another online meeting on top of all that. So, with sanitized hands, hotspots avoided and symptom-free, he put out to his church that he was available if people wanted to walk and talk.
The first week was quiet, but since then a lot of people have taken up Mark’s offer, his Youth Worker has done the same thing with her youth, and Camden Small Groups have been looking after each other. “There is a culture of care in the church. So much goes on that I don’t even know about,” Mark says. “It’s a beautiful thing to see people say ‘hey, we’re here to love God and each other’, and try to find an expression of that love in amongst this…We need each other to pull through!”
Mark says it’s been a privilege to be with people going through a hard time. So I’ve come up with an answer to my husband’s question: This week in lockdown, I’m going to call an old friend who I imagine must be doing it particularly tough right now, and ask to go for a walk!
What are your tips for love during lockdown?