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Spirituality
(Non-Fic)
Journey Through Lockdown: A Christian devotional for uncertain times
by Jenny Young


My personal reflections on Level Five Lockdown as a Grandmother in South Africa. "Sounds interesting!"

Chapter 1

25 March 2020

Virtual World

 

On Sunday we attended virtual church. Well, it wasn’t quite virtual reality – if you compare it to some games where you wear a helmet and wield a sword, but it was not real church. It was watching videos pre-recorded or selected by our leaders for us to watch at home with possibly a small group. Like video games, there are limits and restrictions. One of the restrictions is my knowledge of technology but the most notable difference is the l...



Chapter 2
26 March, 2020 Exceptional Gifts

On Monday night, our fellowship group had our “last supper.” We all saw how things were going and knew it would not be long before South Africa, too, faced a lockdown. As a group, we watched the president’s address which confirmed it.

Although I had been expecting it, I was surprised by my own reaction of shock. I have been on-and-off tearful since. I don’t know what’s the matter with me. I do not fear the virus at all. I think I am mourning for a lost way of life.

...



Chapter 3
27 March, 2020 Lockdown Day, 1 Glimpses of Glory.

Yesterday was hectic. My husband and I decided to take the last opportunity to go out for breakfast and cappuccino while we still could. Portabello restaurant was quiet. In the beginning we were the only people seated there although another couple did come a little later on. We did our slightly bigger than normal grocery shop on Tuesday but I forgot to get stock cubes to make butternut soup, although I did buy a big bag of butternuts.

I went to Checkers. It was full to bursting. Queues for the till...



Chapter 4
28 March 2020 Lockdown Day 2, Creativity

My cell phone is next to me. I need it to check on the news, (are there any more prohibitions I need to know about) keep contact with my friends, and use my bible app. Today’s bible verse is 2 Cor 4:7-9.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed,but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.

The treasure mentioned i...



Chapter 5
29 March 2020 Lockdown Day 3, A Kiss of God

Yesterday morning, as I was in the bath, the sun’s angle changed in such a way that the sunshine streamed through my bathroom window and caressed me. I felt it was a kiss of God and I felt loved and protected. It got me to thinking about God and light.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5 NIV)

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.&rdqu...



Chapter 6
30 March 2020 Lockdown Day 4, Tents on the Patio

When my husband cleared out the store room, we found four tents. Two tiny ones were from the days when our younger son was still at home and used to go camping with us. We had a caravan and later a motor-home and he had a tent. Then he out grew that tent and got another, a longer one. As a Guider, when I took the Guides camping, I liked to take my own tent into which I could fit a chair. Then there is a very old tent my parents used with the motor-home before they gave it to me. On Sunday the grandchildr...



Chapter 7
31 March 2020 Lockdown Day 5, Living Online

Now that so many people are in lockdown, life is going online. We have online church every Sunday. My daughter is offering online art classes, my granddaughter is doing online ballet lessons, tonight I am trying out my first online conference call when we meet up with our fellowship group.

This is a photo of our grandchildren doing an online PE lesson, designed by their uncle who is a PE teacher in an international school.

Some things just don’t work online. Like meeting a friend...



Chapter 8
1 April, 2020 Lockdown Day 6, Learning New Things

One positive consequence of this Lockdown is we are able to learn new things. Those of the older generation, like me, are a little technically challenged. Last night I attempted my first Zoom conference which was attended by members of our fellowship group. I had a few technical difficulties. To start off, we couldn’t hear, then when I disconnected the laptop from the TV we could hear fine, but nobody could hear us. I’m sure by the end of the Lockdown I will be able to access this technology ...



Chapter 9
2 April 2020 Lockdown Day 7, Attitude of Gratitude

Yesterday I made cards with the grandchildren during “Granny Time.” They were meant to be Easter cards, but mine turned out to be a Thank You card, mainly because I had Thank You stickers in my craft box.

It got me to thinking about 1 Thes 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

At the end of 2017 my best friend...



Chapter 10
3 April 2020 Lockdown Day 8, Foil Boats

It had been raining all morning and we decided to make foil boats and sail them on puddles for our Granny Science activity.

The plan was to investigate different sizes and placement of sails but we never really got that far. Our big puddle had dried up by the afternoon so the kids had tremendous fun filling it up again with buckets while wearing their roller blades. Eventually they got it big enough to sail boats.

Naturally, the wind didn’t co-operate and t...



Chapter 11
4 April 2020 Lockdown Day 9, Deep

It has been raining all day and it’s an ideal day to settle down with my computer and write.

Since yesterday I have been thinking of the word, “deep.” The first thing that comes to mind when I see this word is a bible verse.

“Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”(Psalm 42:7)

I am not sure what it means. It seems like the psalmist is feeling overwhelmed. Sound familiar in these times? Nev...



Chapter 12
5 April, 2020 Lockdown Day 10, Sunday again

Sunday has come around again and not just any Sunday. Today is Palm Sunday. The family came over for church again this week, and we seem to be getting into the habit of tea/coffee and something nice to eat after church. It will probably be one of my happy memories of lockdown. Not the usual stress to get to church on time, but rather a more relaxed flexible family time. We could stop the preacher mid-sermon to get water, help the kids with their activities and so on.

Our sermon was based on Co...



Chapter 13
6 April Lockdown Day 11, Blue is for Peace

God talks to us in many ways. Today, I’ve mostly heard from Him through scripture. It started this morning with my verse for the day from Psalm 24:1 NIV

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.”

God is in control. It is, after all, His world. We are His too and He knows how to care for what belongs to Him.

Our Church is putting out a series of Daily devotions, based on the fruit of the Spirit. Today’s ref...



Chapter 14
7 April 2020 Lockdown Day 12, Beyond Understanding

Yesterday I noticed something strange on the patio under our gazebo.

It looked like somebody had scraped out a bowl of colourless jelly and dumped it on the tiles under the gazebo. It had no smell. Being the curious scientist that I am, I wanted to know what it was and how it had appeared in such an unlikely place. My first thought was that the grandchildren had emptied squidgies, those water absorbing gel beads on the patio, but nobody in the family knew anything about it. On closer inspect...



Chapter 15
8th April, 2020 Day 13 Green Tomatoes and Seeds

A tomato plant grew itself in a bath of soil I used to use for some strawberries that never thrived. When I found the branches drooping, I saved two nearly ripe tomatoes that were lying in the mud and looped up the others. I knew that the two on the ground would be eaten by insects. I didn’t know whether tomatoes ripen if you pick them too early, but I was willing to try. My husband, always trying to be helpful, thought I knew something he didn’t know about tomatoes and picked all of them so ...



Chapter 16
9 April Lockdown Day 14 In the Middle of History

Tonight at midnight we will be two thirds of the way through our 21 day lockdown. The question on everybody’s lips is, “Will the lockdown be extended?” On the one hand, the economy has taken a nose dive. We’d already been downgraded to Junk Status by two ratings agencies. Businesses are struggling and that has a knock-on effect on employees. More people are out of work. The rand reached R19.25 to the dollar on Sunday from R15.96 on March 10, which was already a high figure. Our pr...



Chapter 17
10 April 2020 Lockdown Day 15. Hand Washing

Today is Good Friday.

Last night we heard the news of the extended lockdown. Another two weeks!

Our six-year-old granddaughter is very meticulous about sanitising her hands. I have hand sanitiser mounted on the wall next to our front door.

We got together with the family and celebrated our own Tenebrae service. We took turns reading the account of Jesus’ last day before the Crucifixion from Luke chapters 22 and 23. At dramatic pauses, we extinguished one of eight candles until it ...



Chapter 18
11 April 2020 Lockdown Day 16, Out of Joint

Today is Easter Saturday – a kind of marking-time day on the Easter weekend. I imagine on that first Easter Saturday, the disciples will have been locked down in their homes, trying to process the events of the previous days. Nothing was the same. Nothing would ever be the same again. They were learning to cope with all the aspects of loss. They were probably in the denial stage. Perhaps they were reading the old scriptures – especially the one Jesus had quoted from the cross.



Chapter 19
12 April, 2020 Lockdown Day 17, Easter Sunday

I will never forget this Easter in the middle of Lockdown 2020. Thanks so much to Rosebank Union Church, Pastor Richard and the other pastors, Michael and the tech guys, the worship team and everybody involved in making these lockdown Easter services so special.

On Friday morning we watched an excellent compilation of images, narrative, scripture, worship, sermon and prayer, followed by a live communion service. We prepared our own elements and shared communion with those locked down with us. ...



Chapter 20
13 April 2020 Day 18 Birthday Preparations

Tomorrow is my granddaughter’s sixth birthday. Being in lockdown, we can’t have a party, we can’t buy balloons and it’s going to be a very different birthday for her. However, we are all going to make the day as festive as we can.

Her ten-year-old sister has been working on a pretty dress for her for four weeks, coming over to Granny’s house twice or three times a week to use the sewing machine. She finished it today. 

My daughter is planning a picnic lunch ...



Chapter 21
14 April 2020 Lockdown Day 19 Birthday Picnic

Today was the long-awaited birthday. There was much present opening and celebration. The children have been sleeping in the art studio in their tents and a special breakfast was brought to the birthday-girl’s tent.

At 10.30 we all had tea and cake. The cake was an experimental one that my oldest granddaughter and I adapted from a quick-mix chocolate cake. Instead of adding cocoa, we added food colouring to different batches of batter then spooned in the different colours in a random order to ...



Chapter 22
15 April 2020 Lockdown Day 20 Good Advice

Obeying God's commands and laws makes us wiser than our enemies, gives us more insight than our teachers and more understanding than our leaders. (Inspired by Psalm 119:97)

...



Chapter 23
16 April 2020 Lockdown Day 21 Home Schooling

Today was meant to be the last day of lockdown – that was until it was extended by another two weeks!

I am helping my grandchildren with their online lessons. I thought I’d be able to write a blog at the same time, but that has been very difficult.

Paul says that the Law was our teacher. The ten commandments and all the associated laws were not a means of salvation. They were there to teach God’s children the ways of God.

Galations 3:24-26 (CEV)

24 ...



Chapter 24
17 April 2020 Lockdown Day 22 Something Big

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra have collaborated to bring music to uplift our spirits and as a tribute to our amazing health workers. Each artist recorded his part at home and the techies stitched it together to make this piece.

Sometimes we think we need to do something big for God. That is not true. We do what we can with the talents God has given us, even if it’s only something small.

I have been trying to sew masks for Alex, in between gra...



Chapter 25
18 April 2020 Lockdown Day 23 Light as Air

It is Saturday. Despite having been retired for almost three years and the fact that during lockdown days merge into each other, weekends still feel like holidays to me. I felt inspired to make scones for breakfast.

Scones are tricky. Sometimes they turn out as light as air but sometimes they are heavy. My scones use baking powder as a leavening agent. If the baking powder is old, it doesn’t work as well. There are other ways to get air into baking or cooking. My chocolate cake relies on bica...



Chapter 26
19 April 2020 Lockdown Day 25 Little Parables

Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise! (Prov 6:6 NIV)

This morning my husband directed my attention to a sliver of grated cheese that was being moved by a work party of ants. 

As we watched, the cheese slowly moved towards the sink.

To me it was a parable of how, when we work together, we can accomplish impossible-seeming tasks. Our church team has managed to distribute 2,136 masks so far to the destitute in the township of Alexandra. Nothing was ...



Chapter 27
20 April 2020 Lockdown Day 26 Free

This morning I opened a forwarded message informing me that Joy Magazine was making their January issue free online. Last week my son in Russia sent me a link to a free YouTube premier of Andrew Lloyd Weber's “Phantom of the Opera.” We watched it on Friday evening – but not before we forwarded the link to many people on our WhatsApp groups. My husband has forwarded the message about the Joy Magazine to three of his groups and several of his friends and acquaintances....



Chapter 28
21 April 2020 Lockdown Day 27 Remember Me

This morning my normal YouTube daily devotion was nowhere to be found. Instead I read a chapter of Rebecca Barlow-Jones’ book, “Dayvotions for Grandmothers.” She reminisced about her grandmother and other grandmothers and what the children remembered of them after their death.

Memory is a wonderful thing when the memories are happy. There are two places in the Bible that spring to mind when somebody asked somebody else to remember them.

Joseph said to Pharaoh’s cupbear...



Chapter 29
22 April Lockdown Day 26

Romans 4:20-21 says of Abraham,

Yet he did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (NIV)

I need always to remember that God has the power to make good on His promises. He promises He will never leave us nor forsake us. That was always true and it is also true in the midst of the Corona Virus pandemic.

 

...



Chapter 30
23 April 2020 Lockdown Day 28 Protection

Today we had to go shopping. We took our masks and our hand-sanitiser although the two shops we visited both had sanitiser for trolleys and hands. We kept our distance from other people. In general, customers are patient, waiting for one person to look for the vegetables they choose before another moves to the same area. All these precautions are for our protection. The government, like governments around the world, have put regulations in place for the protection of the citizens.

As we left the pa...



Chapter 31
24 April 2020 Lockdown Day 29 This is the Year

Last night President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a stepped lifting of the hard lockdown from 1 May according to the infection rate and the readiness of health services. South Africa has 3 953 confirmed cases of Covid 19 and the death toll is at 75.

2020 will be remembered as:

1.            The year of the mask.

2.            The year we washed our hands, again and again ...



Chapter 32
25 April 2020 Lockdown Day 30 Valour

This post is part of Saturday Stream of Consciousness. The prompt for today is to use val in a word. I have chosen to look at valour – a good old fashioned word. According to the dictionary, it means great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.

I thought this is what we all need in these trying times. Let’s face it, we are in a battle – humans against the virus. A good dose of valour is what we all need. Courage is not the l...



Chapter 33
26 April 2020 Lockdown Day 31 Trees

My son-in-law decided to take down a branch of the acacia tree that was dying and could be a danger if it fell. There was a lot of sawing and even drilling but the final phase was the breaking by pulling the branch using a rope.

We all realised that trees are bigger and stronger and heavier than we give them credit for. Having got the branch down, the next problem was to move it out of the way to the perimeter wall. That took almost an hour with the whole family working t...



Chapter 34
27 April 2020 Lockdown Day 32 Freedom

Today is Freedom Day in South Africa. It commemorates our first democratic elections in 1994. At last all South Africans could vote. One would have thought that after twenty six years we would now have a free society but that is not so. We are not free from crime, we are not free from corruption, we are not free from greed, selfishness, xenophobia, inequality or evil.

What is freedom? The Oxford dictionary gives us two choices.

1.          &nb...



Chapter 35
28 April 2020 Lockdown Day 33 Through the Window.

I love looking through my study window and seeing my grandchildren play. Even when it’s raining, they can have such fun. They are being what they are: - Children.

In the same way, God loves looking at us being who we are. He didn’t create uniformity. He loves our individuality and smiles when He sees us becoming the people He created us to be.

 

A.B. Simpson said,

“Let us but feel that he has his heart set upon us, that he is watching us from those heavens w...



Chapter 36
29 April 2020 Lockdown Day 34 Greater

Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world."(1 John 4:4 NIV)

My God is greater.

He is greater than the president.

He is greater than the media.

He is greater than the forces of evil in the world.

He is greater than anybody or anything in the world.

He is greater than the Corona Virus.

...



Chapter 37
30 April 2020 Lockdown Day 35 Work

Tomorrow is Worker’s Day, a public holiday in South Africa and in another 65 countries around the world.

 

It seems ironic that it is also the first day of the lockdown easing to level four from level five. This means that over a million workers will be free to go to work in certain sectors. Will they? On a public holiday? I doubt it.

During this time of lockdown, we realise what a privilege it is to work, to have a job, not only to earn a salary but to feel you have made a c...



Chapter 38
1 May 2020 Lockdown Easing

From today South Africa moves from level five to level four lockdown. Pictures flood the news about people out exercising at Emmerentia Dam, Zoo lake, the Promenades in Cape Town and Durban and elsewhere.

Today’s devotion was based on Ephesians 6:18. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” At other times Paul admonishes us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:16)

This sounds impossible but Pastor Richard shared an insight ...




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