By Pastor Steve Hall
September 24, 2020
You learn some funny things during a pandemic.
Earlier in the year, the British authorities enforced a COVID-19 lockdown by closing parks and playgrounds in the UK. People were forced to stay in their homes and the abandoned parks and playgrounds must have been a depressing sight. Until the sheep arrived….
It seems that when the people are away, the sheep will play!
Sheep take over a merry-go-round in Preston, England.
Sheep apparently enjoy a new sense of freedom when people are secluded in their homes. They roam about, leaving their home fields for new spaces like children’s playgrounds. They even USE the play equipment and it appears their favorite activity is the merry-go-round.
You remember merry-go-rounds. The British call them “roundabouts,” like their less-fun circular traffic obstacles. A merry-go-round works best when riders get on and one or more others take turns spinning the wheel. A merry-go-round can go fast, and it can make you sick. But it’s also tremendous fun. At least, the sheep think so.
On a playground near a farm in Monmouthshire, Wales, a flock of sheep were spotted pushing each other on a “roundabout” two days in a row. Some time after that, different sheep were seen doing the same thing at a playground in Preston, England!
There’s even video:
I don’t know about you, but for me this redefines what it means to be a sheep!
We read a lot about sheep in the Scriptures. The Old and the New Testament both refer to God’s people as sheep. You know God’s people: prone to wander, liable to get lost. It’s a not altogether flattering analogy that demonstrates our deep need for a “good shepherd.”
Now it seems that there’s another way sheep and people are similar, and it has to do with trying new things. Given the opportunity, sheep would rather find something to do rather than aimlessly wander in abandoned fields. They appear to have a sense of fun to go with their well-known instinct for sticking together. And they’re also capable of assisting each other.
Open the gate, and sheep will find a way…to play!
Baaah…What’s It All Mean?
Now, back to human beings for a moment. Are we doing anything new? Anything unexpected? I think so. At the Chapel and Galilee, even while we face COVID-19 restrictions, there are opportunities to “do a new thing.”
Like these clever British sheep, there might be one or two new tricks in us that God enables when situations change. I know that for some of us, adapting to new technology takes something like an act of God. Well, we seem to have got one! So we are doing church online, that’s a new trick. We are learning the process, and as a church we love one another and are working hard to get it right. It’s important to remember that we are not in charge, but God is in charge.
In this extraordinary season of suspended in-person worship, I for one miss Holy Communion. Therefore, I’m so happy that during The Chapel on-line service on October 4th, we will do on-line Communion. Galilee will do the same thing at 9am. The Bishop has temporarily granted us the right to celebrate the Lord’s Supper virtually. That’s a very new thing.
Details about on-line communion are found here. Take some steps ahead of time, because you do need to prepare.
I pray that this time of social distancing will be over soon and that we can once again see and greet each other as a loving community of faith–as a flock, if you will.
In the meantime…try something new!