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People, We Are at War!
April 2021 Prayer Prompt
...around the table
The Churches of London Series
Village Green Community Church
London Christian Life and Witness Course May - June
BookMark - Healthy Gut Zone: Heal Your Digestive System to Restore Your Body and Renew Your Mind (BOOK REVIEW)
The Imprisoned for Christ Virtual Event – April 24th!
Register Now!
The Greater London Celebration with Will Graham
Did You Miss the Virtual Celebration Launch Event?
Working from Home - 4 Must See Videos! (VIDEO)
Navigating Faith & Culture - Together
Faith Today magazine now FREE in Canada
Reel Review - Roe v. Wade (MOVIE REVIEW)
An Update from The London Child & Youth Network
I’m Drawing God! (HUMOUR)

Published February 2021
By Helena Smrcek

This time a year my family should be on our favorite beach in Mexico. We’re stuck at home. The daily trip to Starbucks is no longer part of my routine, and an outlet mall marathon with my girls is a distant memory. Let me cry some more about my first-world problems and inconveniences, while suffering under lock down, as doctors, nurses and countless ranks of health care workers, care for those who struggle to take a breath. Am I being ridiculous?

The world around us may not look like the scenes from 1917 or Saving Private Ryan, but a war it is, nevertheless. There are mass casualties, GDP’s of many nations are dropping, while the debts are skyrocketing. Unemployment and business closures are on the rise. Families are broken apart, and many friends and relatives are simply gone, without a goodbye.

I try to limit my exposure to the negative news, to go for daily walks, stay in contact with my friends and relatives, listen to Christian podcasts and pray, but still, the struggle is real.

So, how about a church that decides to disregard the stay-home order and keeps up with their services, despite numerous warnings, fines and court order, citing oppression of our freedoms?

This year marks a 35th anniversary of my family’s defection from a communist country. Let me tell you about oppression.

Travel? Absolute ban. The annual travel permit application deadline was sometimes in February. One week abroad, Eastern block only. If the government decided that a person was worthy a travel permit to the West, they had to apply for currency permit, which allowed them to purchase Western currency, in rationed quantity, as holding Dollars, former German Marks, or any other foreign money was illegal. People went to jail for such possession.

Civil disobedience? That would warrant a sit-down with the secret police. Let me assure you, our OPP officers are nice and kind people. The secret police were not. Outright descent? Disregard for a court order? Preaching Gospel? They would come in the middle of the night, to the person’s home, and take them away. Many disappeared for good, their families forever searching without answers.

We live in democracy. Praise God for that. We have rights and freedoms, yet democracy can only exist if the citizens decide to submit to the rules created for the greater good. The Bible tells us to submit to our governments. Do I always like the laws passed? No. Do I agree with all government policies? No. Do I enjoy paying taxes, of course not. But, our government does work for us, Ontarians. Let me ask, when did Doug Ford take a vacation last? How about a full day off?

We need to pray for our leaders. They’re honestly doing their best. Maybe this is a small reminder, that they are people just like us, make mistakes, and yes, some are in it for the perks, but overall, our province and country is strong, due to our leadership. We do have the means to make it through this.

That brings me back to the above-mentioned church. Isn’t this the precise time of darkness when Christians should shine, not make the news as blatantly disobedient people, hiding behind perceived oppression of religious freedoms? Isn’t this the time when we can be a witness to those who are in isolation and suffer from mental health issues, loneliness and fear? Isn’t this the time that Church should rise in prayer and start asking God, humbly, even on our knees, for intervention and healing?

This is definitely not the time to refuse to play our part in the solution, and chose to become the problem. I wonder how many members who attend the forbidden services actually accept the government CERP checks, EI or a wage subsidy, perhaps even a business loan, rent relief or the province-wide hydro discounts? Perhaps, if they so strongly disagree with the efforts of our leaders, they should not partake in the relief efforts either. How about vaccinations, medical help, and hospitalization? Never mind getting infected themselves, but what about those who fall ill because of the negligence of others? Our governments are very reluctant to implement drastic measures. They are criticized for their slow response, at the same time, others criticize them for the restrictions. But this can no longer be about making people happy. This is about saving lives.

War? Yes, we are at war. Our enemy is an invisible virus, viciously attacking young and old. Some fair well through the infection, others don’t, suffering for weeks, many with lasting organ damage. Then there are those who simply don’t make it. Call me a weak Christian, while I choose to stay home and participate in an online service, rather that one day face our Lord and realize that my actions hurt His children, my brothers and sisters. What a horrible decision for a doctor to make, looking at two patients with one ventilator in hand. We had seen this in other countries, let’s not bring this to ours.

Thinking back to WWII, when London was under blackout orders to protect the city from Nazi bombers. How many Brits did site their rights and freedoms, and pulled up their blinds in the middle of the night, living room lights blazing into the darkness? Let’s think about this.

I’m all for personal liberty, rights and freedoms, I have lived in the dark side. Yet, I do feel I have a civil responsibility, as a citizen of this country, a resident of this great province of Ontario, to do my best, to not only protect myself and my family, but to ensure that I will not endanger others by my actions.

Indeed, this is the time to be good, to ourselves, and others around us. Let’s figure out what lessons can we learn from this plague, not caused by our leaders, but spread through our communities due to ignorance and selfishness.

We are not forbidden to pray or practice our faith. We are able to stay connected, as never before did we have access to such technology as today. I’m not talking just about your congregation. :

Let’s start thinking globally. Let’s connect as one church. Reach out to the lonely ones, the ones suffering from depression and anxiety, to seniors shut out from the world, to tired frontline workers. Encourage them, let them know you are praying and doing your part, be it staying put in your house. Use your phone, table or what ever devise you have. You can show Christ’s love, be a true follower, and spread His Good News of salvation so many so desperately need right now. You do have the means to do that, right at your fingertips.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audio books. Working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, with her husband, two adult children, two dogs, several cats, and her favorite goat, Rosie.