Oh Sit Down

Oh Sit Down

Oh Sit Down

by Dave Carter
25th September 2020

As a child of the 90s, the song “Sit down” by James formed part of the soundtrack of my teenage years. You may well recognise the well-known opening part of the chorus:

Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Sit down next to me

These days the song evokes a sense of nostalgia, of simpler times when life was easier. No, I’m not talking about my teenage years, merely the time pre-Covid, when you could actually sit down next to someone.

Rewriting the song for 2020 would change the chorus somewhat:

Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Sit down 2 metres away, maybe wearing a mask, as long as there aren’t more than 6 of us…

Yet I think the most telling line from the song probably informs some of our current thinking:

If I hadn’t seen such riches
I could live with being poor

Rather than apply this strictly to money, it speaks of the way we tend to compare current standards with our past experiences. If you’ve never known better, you’re not too disillusioned by what you’re missing out on. Once you’ve seen what is possible, it’s incredibly frustrating if you can no longer do it. It’s often a matter of what you’re used to that governs your level of contentment with your circumstances.

In the early stages of lockdown, when only a few weeks before we had been used to life as normal, things seemed very drastic. Then we gradually got used to the restrictions, to the point where any small increase in freedom seemed very exciting, even if it was only a fraction of what we had enjoyed last year. Can you imagine trying to tell yourself in 2019 that being allowed to go into someone else’s house would be the highlight of July 2020? Yet it seemed like we were on the up and people felt positive.

Over the last couple of months we’ve got used to more freedom than we had during lockdown. Schools are back, people can go into work, most activities can resume in some form or another, except for large-scale gatherings.

Now, however, things are (necessarily) tightening up again. Some areas are experiencing local lockdowns, some gatherings are now more limited, especially if you’re from a larger household. There is the possibility of further restrictions ahead. And now we’ve got used to it being easier, going backwards again feels even more difficult. Some friends recently had to self-isolate as their child had a cough. They said that 3 days of home-schooling this week had seemed harder than 3 months of home-school previously, because their kids had now been back at school, seen their friends and had a taste of normal life.

So what are we to do? How are we to conduct ourselves in the coming season?

May I suggest that we learn to be content in ourselves, whilst being discontent with the current worldwide situation.

First, discontentment:

When we see injustice or hardship on a worldwide scale our response to it should not be to tolerate it. This should stir us and cause us to feel uncomfortable. The current worldwide pandemic is something we should not just accept as normal forever. We mustn’t stop praying and seeking God for breakthrough. Nor should we lose sight of the things we do want to be restored, and seek God for his solutions to the problem.

Secondly, contentment:

This has to come from the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us. When Paul wrote in Phillippians 4 “I can do all things through him who gives me strength”, he was speaking in the context of being content whatever his circumstances. He never denied his hardships, but they didn’t govern his thinking. He had lived with plenty, he had been in need. He had been well-fed, other times he went hungry. Yet he learned the secret of being content in any situation – the strength that comes from God.

We can rely on God and trust that whatever our circumstances we can be content in Him. Yet from that place we also continue to cry out to God for change and for his kingdom to be expressed on planet Earth in the coming months.

And listen to some music from the 90s while you’re doing it. It was a great decade!