Combatting Zoom Fatigue

(This is from a longer article by Curt Thompson. Read the full article here…)

By now, most of us have noticed. And either we or someone we know is talking about it. Zoom fatigue. Irritability. No fever, cough or body aches necessary. Just the normal, run-of-the-mill symptoms of social distancing. And mostly, people are describing how much more exhausted they are at the end of their days compared to what their lives were like before three weeks ago. All of this highlights one element of what it truly means to be human that our encounter with the coronavirus has drawn our attention to: our bodies.

God made our bodies as part of what it means for us to be human, and much like asking someone to breathe air that is only 15% oxygen instead of the normal 20%, we’re asking our bodies to do things they were not made to do. Even so, along with other suggestions I have offered regarding COVID-19, here are some additional things you can do to help:

  1. Make it a practice to take at least three 5-10 minute walks every day. Shorter, more frequent movement not only extends your body’s movement over the course of the day, it also gives you something to look forward to throughout the day, thereby reducing your anxiety along with your irritation.
  2. If possible, change your location of work in your home. This may be challenging, but different physical locations within your home over time gives your body the awareness of movement by virtue of being in a novel location.
  3. When possible, stand while doing work, especially when using a screen. This practice enables your body to work even while being less mobile.
  4. As you are able, limit the number of people on videocalls to three or less. This may sound unreasonable, or impossible. But the fewer people your brain—and body—has to keep track of, the less tired you will be. This may simply sound like common sense. That’s because it is.
  5. Greet as many people as you can whenever you are able. There is little cost to acknowledging the presence of another person, and we need to be acknowledged even by strangers. Not only will your thinking mind give and receive it, your body will as well.
  6. Plan for daily singing/worship while standing. Sing along with your most loved YouTube worship video as a means to use your body to tell your mind and soul that you are quite alive—and that you are not alone.
  7. Talk about your anger. There may be nothing more important than having a close friend or counselor validate that your anger is real and isn’t crazy. Not to mention that talking to someone about your feelings connects you to another person, which in and of itself will reduce your irritability and give you a greater sense of agency.
  8. Practice contemplative prayer. This form of prayer, especially while standing, strengthens your capacity to live in the present moment which protects against the irritability that emerges in the face of immobility.

Our bodies are hard at work. And although we are in a season in which we are asking them to work differently and harder than usual, know that you are not alone, and your work is not in vain.

Why keep Lent? By J. John

Lent, the forty days before Easter (not counting Sundays), is a somewhat curious period in the church’s calendar. Most events in the church’s year are festivals and we happily talk about celebrating them. Lent is very different: it is a minor-key period which is never ‘celebrated’ but only ‘kept’. Some churches and Christians treat Lent very seriously, while others ignore it entirely.

Even among those who keep Lent, there is no agreement on how it should be kept. Many Christians try to give up something: for instance, chocolate, social media or television. It’s even become a period for us to try to break bad habits, almost as if Lent gives us another opportunity to retake those New Year’s resolutions!

Now what exactly is Lent about? Lent is about three ‘preparations’.

Lent is a preparation for Easter. Easter, with its message of Christ destroying sin and death through his death and resurrection, is the most exciting moment in the church’s year. Yet we can undercut this note of victory by being so occupied that, amid the frantic busyness of our lives, we carelessly stumble upon Easter. Lent provides us with forty days’ build-up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday that forces us to prayerfully ponder the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As the best way to appreciate a sunrise is to be there in the darkness before dawn, so the only way to appreciate Easter is to have come to it through Lent. We as Christians are, of course, an Easter people living in a Good Friday world.

Secondly, Lent is a preparation for Existence. A fatal flaw in our culture today is that people do not know how to say ‘no’ to bad things. It is now almost a virtue to give in to every desire that comes upon us. Yet a great element in Christian morality is to be able to say ‘no’ to wrong desires. Paul, in Titus 2:11–12 (NIV), says, ‘For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.’ Lent gives us the opportunity to practise resisting harmful and hurtful desires that will continue for life. Trivial as it may appear, a battle won over chocolate, coffee or cake at Lent may help us win a battle over lust, lying or lazyness shortly afterwards.

Finally, Lent is a preparation for Eternity. If you take Lent seriously, then these forty days can seem to be a long and often wearying season in which we never get our own way. Here, for a time, pleasures are put to one side and joys are postponed. But Lent doesn’t last. The darkness is broken by the joyful light of the glorious triumph of Easter Day. Here there is a splendid parallel with our lives. For many of us, much of our life seems to take place in what we might call ‘Lent mode’: things do not go as we hope, we do not get what we want and our joys are absent or at best short-lived. Yet, for the Christian, there is that wonderful and certain hope that however deep and hard the darkness is in our lives, it will ultimately be lifted and replaced by an indestructible joy. For those who love Christ, life’s long Lent will end one day in an eternal Easter in which death and sin are destroyed for ever.

Whether or not you keep Lent (which starts today, on Wednesday 17th February), and in what way you keep it, is your choice. But to keep Lent, thoughtfully and prayerfully, is to come into a rich and lasting inheritance. Be blessed this Lent and bless others.

J.John

www.canonjjohn.com

Jane and Dexter Brown on Dentistry in Lockdown

Last autumn, Dexter Brown wrote an article about Dentistry during the Covid pandemic.
As we interviewed his wife Jane at Church Coffee Online today to ask how things were going (find the link below), we are publishing the article here again:

Lockdown and restart: a dentist’s perspective

By Dexter Brown

(Dentist Jane wearing surgical gown, mask, visor and gloves)

On the 23rd of March, I saw my last dental patient and locked up the surgery. The doors did not open again until 9th June. Dental problems did not go away but dental surgeries were told to close and all we could do was give the three A’s: Advice, Analgesics (painkillers) and Antibiotics, as physical contact with patients was prohibited. I spoke to over 60 patients during this period, with issues ranging from minor problems to serious infections.

It felt so medieval in such a modern high-tech profession and era to be resorting to basic DIY dentistry. I guided patients who had sharp and broken teeth to file off edges with nail files. I talked an elderly shielding lady through extracting her very mobile lower tooth and how to deal with the bleeding. She was developing a spreading infection in her face and was terrified of leaving her home for care. Removing the tooth resolved the issue.

One gentleman had a crown (cap) which had come off a tooth. I talked him through how he could correctly relocate it back into his mouth – he practiced and was able to do so. He came to the surgery and collected dental cement for use at home. He called back later to relay that the procedure had ended in disaster and that he now needed a plumber not a dentist. In the course of trying to recement the crown, whilst he was looking in his bathroom mirror, the crown slipped from his fingers, fell down the sink plug hole and lodged itself in the U-bend!

As Covid-19 is a respiratory disease and the virus is therefore present in the mouth, it may be transferred to the atmosphere of the surgery through drilling. Protocols have been developed which require a surgery to be left for an hour after treatment, to allow aerosol to settle. Then every exposed surface in the room has to be wiped down and disinfected. This has slowed the through-put of patients, and where our practice saw up to 30 people a day, we are currently seeing a maximum of 10.

Dentistry has always been a highly clinical and safe place to visit, and I can reassure you that this remains the case today.

 

At today’s Church Coffee Online we spoke to Jane about life in lockdown. You can catch up here:

 

 

 

Praying for the Mission of God

Jesus says: “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Find out more about the ten largest unreached people groups and pray for them today…

(Click on the image to enlarge it).

Every virtue begins with humility

By Nnamdi Maduka

On 29th November 2020, Manchester United were playing Southampton, with some minutes to go, Southampton were leading 2-1.  It looked as though United were going to suffer their fourth defeat of the Premier League season. The United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to salvage the situation called out Edison Cavani from the substitute bench, gave him a specific instruction on what at to do and sent him in. This paid off as Cavani scored two beautiful goals that gave Manchester United their much-needed victory. A world class footballer left in the bench humbly waited for his time and when the opportunity came, he made his mark.

John the Baptist was given a definite divine assignment by God and he played the script with dedication and humility. Humility produces spiritual blessing hence Jesus describe him as the greatest of all.Just as every sin starts in pride, every virtue begins in humility. Humility allows us to see ourselves as we are, because it shows us before God as He is.

God needs voices and John the Baptist was willing to be one for God. In ancIent times, before a king visited any part of his realm, a messenger was sent before him to prepare the way. This included both repairing the roads and preparing the people. By calling the nation to repentance, John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord Jesus Christ.
John stopped his disciples from putting him into a situation of competing against Jesus.  He knew that he was just a voice and whatever God wanted to do with that voice was great with him. He wanted to get all the attention onto Christ and off himself. That is the heart desire of the humble. Proud people want recognition, the humble want all the glory and honour and  recognition to go the Lord. This revealed a deeper level of humility in John’s life.  John can do this because he has realised that it is not about him. And therefore, he can also be so bold in resisting the temptation to doctor the message or attempt to soften the impact of Christ`s teaching.

Humility destroys self-absorption, self-preoccupation, self-sufficiency, and self-reliance. Our desires become nothing compared to Christ who becomes everything. So, reflecting again on John’s life and witness, his hippie appearance and all his ‘shouty-ness’ I hope we might accept with due humility that like him, all WE can do is attempt to point the way; and invite others into friendship with the Lord in this busy season.

May the Lord prepare our heart for the wonder of His coming. Amen

P.S. This coming Sunday (13 December) we will reflect on John the Baptist, his life and work.

A Walk Around St Mary’s Church – Denham History Online

Thank you to Denham History Online for posting a walk around St Mary’s Church to co-incide with our church festival.

You can read it here…

Catch up on our Celebration service…

Take a virtual tour of the White House gardens…

Watch our virtual choir sing Amazing Grace…

 

The Fame of the Fayre – From our archives

Today would have been our Denham Fayre and the weather would have been perfect!

In our latest Denham Parish News (download the whole magazine here…) we feature an article about the Fayre, written 50 years ago!

Read the article by clicking on the thumbnail below.