So, in good news in Level 2, we held our Zoom Synod business sessions on Friday, 9am to 5.20 pm (with breaks) and everything went along very well, including passing some needed legislation and making some helpful-going-forward resolutions.
I imagine many Synod members enjoyed a Saturday break (diaries otherwise having committed us to being at the physical Synod had it gone ahead) and it is always a good day in the garden when at the end of it tomatoes have been planted in our glasshouse, fingers crossed that some fruit might appear in time for Christmas. (Potatoes having already been planted!)
Meanwhile, NZ continues (with much of the world) to grapple with Covid-19, and as I write we remain in Level 2 (or Level 2.5 up in Auckland), waiting to see what the Government will announce today re a possible change in levels.
Along the way of this national and global saga, we have had an interesting ecclesiastical-national saga: a church in Auckland, the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship, has been the centre of an Auckland "sub-cluster" with - it appears, according to news reports - some initial hesitations re submitting to tests and some careless practice re not socially isolating due to (in my words) not accepting the scientific basis for authorities requesting tests and requiring isolation as the first members of the church were diagnosed with the virus.
For a couple of commentaries on the situation, from a source I do not think I have ever cited before, The Daily Blog (one of NZ's premiere political commentary blogs, albeit "leftist"), here is Curwen Ares Rolinson and there is Chris Trotter.
We are seeing, it would seem, some unfortunate fruit of a development in evangelical Christianity which has affected to disdain the reliability of science - a development which may well have at its foundation a scepticism about evolution.
Incidentally, after initial reluctance it appears that everyone connected to this church is on board with the need to be tested and to socially isolated until this transmission hotspot has cooled down.
But some damage has been done. As Christians around me are observing: the impact of the story of this one church is that all churches are tarred by their brush, whether or not we claim to have kosher scientific credentials.
On the one hand, we might recognise that no church is "independent" of other churches. We all represent Christianity, we are all ambassadors for Christ and witnesses to the gospel. When one church - even an independent church such as this one - hits the headlines for reasons not praiseworthy, all of NZ Christianity suffers.
On the other hand, we might also recognise - in line with comments worth pondering made to the post below this - the importance of continually understanding what the gospel actually is? What did Christ do and what did he teach? What is God's purpose for us and meaning for our lives according to God's purposes in Christ?
These are "strange times" but the church always lives in strange times and it has always needed to work out what the gospel is and how it should be communicated in strange times.