In some ways it seems like just yesterday, in others like a lifetime ago. In reality it is exactly 1 year ago that we all NZ went into Alert Level 4 and into lockdown. As I look out and see the constant stream of cars going past I remember those photo's of (almost) empty streets. I remember how one tank of fuel lasted me over a month! I remember the way that the national church's crisis management team selflessly worked tirelessly to resource our churches and to help our Minister's lead their churches and their people through the crisis.
12 months on and things are very different - in NZ. We are a Alert Level 1 and let's be real - that's almost life as normal. Yes there are a few more people wearing masks than normally would; some of us are checking in everywhere we go using the COVID Tracer app or the manual check-ins; I have my "go box" always packed (This is my box of pens, paper, markers, masks, etc. that I need if I need to lead the crisis team from home again. It's always packed ready to pick up at a moment's notice - mainly because I never unpacked it when we went back to the office last year :) ).
As we enjoy the freedom we have, we are mindful of much of the rest of the world who are still living under restrictions to some degree or another. As we live in a country where the chances of catching COVID-19 are very small, we are mindful of those in other countries for whom the chance of catching it are much higher, much more real.
It would be easy to become guilty thinking about how good we have it compared to so many others. But we shouldn't. Instead we should be thankful that we live in a country where it has been possible to take precautions that protect us. We can be thankful that we can be a beacon for others. We can be thankful that we can be an example for others. We can be thankful that we can help others see there is hope amongst all this.
I invite you to pause and thank God for the great place we find ourselves in. And as you do take the time to thank him for all the other good things in your life too. As you do you will find how much you can be thankful for. And the more you do it the more thankful you will become so that being thankful becomes a way of life.
Blessings for the week ahead