Like a thief in the night – local lockdowns and something of far greater importance

If you live in Greater Manchester or West Yorkshire, new localised lockdown measures were introduced at midnight yesterday. This news was released at 930pm.  There have been a lot of complaints since about the lack of notice. This has been presented as bad communication. My personal view is that the objections have been overplayed and in fact the timing of the announcement was eminently sensible for the following reasons.

  • It was timed to hit the traditional 10pm news bulletins.
  • In reality, nobody will have been affected until today. It is highly unlikely that anyone was caught out and had to cancel plans to pop round to mums at 1am. 
  • It will have reduced the temptation we have seen with previous announcements where people have used the notice period for one last hurrah heading off to the nursing home on Mothers’ Day or for one last night out at the pub.

We will need to get used to these short notice announcements over the next few months. It wont be easy, we will suffer inconvenience but this is part of what it is going to mean to be living with a pandemic.  However, the crucial point is this, it wasn’t really that short notice was it? We were told when the original lockdown was eased that localised lockdowns were likely. We have seen what has happened in Leicester. The places named yesterday have been consistently mentioned in the news for weeks as likely to go into a second lockdown.  In Oldham at least, it seems like information had been circulated in advance a few nights back.  We have been warned about the types of behaviours that will lead to spikes and therefore local lockdowns.  Here in Sandwell, where we have not gone back into lockdown yet but it still remains highly probably, we have received alerts from our GPs and communications from the Public Health director.  So, whilst we may not know the day nor the hour when local lockdown arrives, we will not be able to complain that we were not warned when it happens here. We will have no excuse for being unprepared.

Jesus warned

“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”

A day is coming of greater importance and consequence than lockdown. It is the day when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead. Jesus also said that nobody knows the day nor the hour of his return and that is why we have to stay alert. Many on that day, including many Christians will be caught unawares and unprepared.  No doubt, there will be complaints about the lack of warning.

But just as the warnings have been there that local lockdowns have been coming, so the warnings have been there in God’s word that Christ is returning. We have no excuse for not being ready when the time comes.

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