So, the past few weeks have been very surreal. I personally have been much more busy, trying to do online services and create community areas, and still trying to keep our church connected in various ways. I know though that many people have been stuck at home. For example, my wife, and daughters have really not been out much. Yivette has gone to the grocery store a couple times, and they have driven in the car to the church for a drive-in church event, so even then they didn't get out of the car. It has all been very bizarre. I have taken away a few things from this though.
I think as I continue this blog, you'll discover that I like lists - particularly outline lists.
1) The risk is real: When all of this first began, at least in America, it seemed far away. It seemed like it was like much of our news media - real events, but disconnected from our presence. Then last week, someone just one ring outside my circle of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon, passed away from the Coronavirus. It became a little more real for me at that time. Since then, I've had conversations with nurses and others who have had direct connection with others who are facing this. It is a real threat that many are facing. It is a very real concern for the people of my church too, as most are in the demographic most affected and many have pre-existing conditions. I wondered at first if the actions we were taking as a society and for the church were necessary, but now I am certain we've made the best choices, and could all even do more to keep each other safe.
2) God and the church are still relevant: While many in the church were initially concerned that not gathering in the same place on Sunday mornings would be a serious issue, the truth is that the church not not about location, but about the people. Yes it is more challenging when we are not able to be in the same place, but its not impossible to still connect. We have still had worship. We still fellowship - just in different ways. We still have had council meetings - over Zoom. We are still taking communion - over the phone and on the livestreams. We are still accepting and receiving tithes and offerings. The church is still very real and present in the world. He is moving through His Word. People are learning about Him and connecting with Him. He is still comforting those who have been sick or lost loved ones. God is showing His power, His love, His grace and His redemption still - and maybe even more fully during this time.
God is still here too! We have seen Him working in our world. Spring still came.
3) Some people needed this: Some people needed God to intervene and force them to take breaks from daily routine. In the Bible, God commands the Sabbath day rest for everyone. God designed us with a need for rest and reconnection with Him. I think those two things are not to be separated either. God doesn't just desire that we sleep all day, or that we veg (is that how you spell that? Vege? Vedge? hmm... IDK, no matter what - sit in a vegetative state) out in front of a television screen all day. It wasn't designed so we could get extra home chores done either. My fear for many is that they will potentially get the physical rest that they need during this time, but miss out on the opportunity for the relational connection that this time could have.
Through all of this, we may be challenged, and life may be difficult. Some are worried about sickness, or the economy. But God is still good. The threat is very real, but God is bigger. The church is still here. We have opportunity before us. Share God's words of hope and faith. Invite someone to church - it's even easier today than yesterday. Connect with one another - online, on the phone, across the yard, through letters. Remain faithful. Use this time to rest and reconnect (or maybe for some of you, to connect for the first time - send me a message and we can discuss this!) with God. Be safe and well.