Corona Virus 3-14-20
New responses to the Corona virus are constantly changing the ways in which we go about daily life. While we are not likely to ever become certain about which of these changes are appropriately helpful or unfortunately overreaching, our Christian response is certainly to be willing to suffer for the sake of our brother’s and sister’s safety. Most of us can agree that it is better to be safe than sorry. Our “social distancing” while in some ways antithetical to our Christian support and care for one another, is ethically essential when ignoring such “distancing” could endanger the health and well-being of the vulnerable brothers and/or sisters we care for. The facts that the Corona virus is both highly communicable and that it can remain asymptomatic for up to 14 days necessitates wise precautions. These wise precautions are properly encouraged not primarily out of fear for self preservation but graciously out of love for our neighbor.
It is also important to note that our physical well-being is not the only part of our person-hood that needs attention at times like these. The spiritual and emotional places within us need careful attention as well. The decision regarding holding worship, forces us to choose between satisfying either our physical or spiritual needs while sacrificing the other. Thankfully, while there are gifts unique to gathering together in worship, our modern age provides ways for us to receive some of worship’s gifts without physically gathering. If you continue to look at our website, upon scrolling down, you will see on bottom right, three recent sermons as audio recordings, including this Sunday’s message. Future sermons will be made available as soon as possible each Sunday via this website's audio recording. Additional mediums and messages will be pursued as we continue to navigate this time.
While the chances are slim, it does not escape my attention that my trip last week combined with my wife’s work in the hospital increase my families chance of being carriers. It is also significant to note that this virus is particularly dangerous to those who are older and our congregation’s demographic involves many in that population. While worship was held on 3/15/20, next week's service and activities will be held and shared only via electronic means, without the congregation's physical attendance. While we will not be physically present with each other, I am sure the Spirit is big enough to help us to be spiritually present for one another in prayer and reflection. Watch here for additional ways to join in worship and reflection using various media platforms.
Words like those in this Sunday’s second lesson are of great comfort and direction during seasons like this. “Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” In these powerful words of Paul, we are reminded of the peace we have knowing that through God’s grace, we will share in His glory. Furthermore, suffering is not an end diagnosis, it produces endurance, character and a sure hope. As Christians amid this time of uncertainty and concern, our willingness to “suffer” by temporarily minimizing our “social gathering” and our corresponding witness of endurance, character, and hope is vital. Panic, self-centeredness and fear do not dictate our response, instead a loving character of peace-filled trust and fearless hope infuses us and hopefully, infects others: not with the Corona virus but with Spirit empowered faith. I hope this can be a time where we show the endurance, character and hope incumbent to a family bound in the love of Christ.
Yours in Christ, Pastor Brent Book