• John Woods

Lockdown Blues



There are a few versions of the song Lockdown Blues on the internet.


The blues may well be the best genre for expressing our deepest feelings when we feel that we are hemmed in and confined.


Perhaps everything being so small and limited is the hardest thing to endure.


There is even a website devoted to Lockdown reflections. It contains one post by Ariee with the simple words:


The silence


has never


been louder.


Historically Christians have responded to lockdown with letters. In the Old Testament we have the letter that Jeremiah writes to the exiles in Babylon (Jeremiah 29), and in the New Testament we have the prison letters of the Apostle Paul and the letters to the seven churches in Revelation from the pen of the exiled Apostle John.


In history, letters emerged from Bedford (England), Birmingham (Alabama), and Tegel (Germany), sent to the church from John Bunyan, Martin Luther King and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. These messages created an international stir as God’s perspective was communicated from tiny prison cells.


Can anything good come out of Lockdown?


Maybe that is what John the Baptist was thinking when he was thrown into a prison by King Herod.


Suddenly the charismatic larger than life public figure, who had taken the world by storm appeared to be cut down to size. The voice who had cried out in the wilderness is silenced; the man who inspired great loyalty among his followers seems to have hit a wall.


Being locked down can have a strange effect upon some people.


It is possible too for extroverts to experience moments of self-doubt. They scratch their heads and wonder, “Has it all come to this?” or, “Is this the end of the road?”


When we are in confined circumstances the walls that bear down upon us can have an impact on our interior world. Our ability to see beyond our reduced circumstances is limited and we can feel like birds without wings.


That is how John the Baptist seems to feel like when he was imprisoned.


We see this reflected in his anguished message sent to Jesus from jail:


“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect another?” (Matthew 11:3)


John has been the warm-up man for the main act. He is supposed to be the one that everybody has been waiting for. Was the wait worth it or has he been barking up the wrong tree?


These dark thoughts can race through the minds of people used to a high profile, who suddenly find themselves side-lined.


The reply that Jesus sends to John wrapped in the language of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah (Matthew 11:4–6). Jesus claims that what Isaiah promised that the sent one would do, he in fact is doing.


Jesus is saying to John, “I am OK. You are OK and it will be OK”.


During Lockdown number 3 that is what a lot of people need to hear about their lives, their families and their future. It is OK.


The day I have been writing this blog is the Sunday when our church was welcoming its new pastor. It was a lovely Zoom meeting, well attended and full of good things.


Seeing old friends, welcoming new ones and enjoying a sense that this was a beginning of a fresh season. It’s great to welcome a new pastor and his family and accept another young family into church membership today.


It is hard in Lockdown, but you are OK, and it will be OK!

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

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