Pity my wife. She has to hear my rants. And she has heard a lot of them as of late. In fact, she probably could ghost write this blog.
No argument that the virus is real, nasty, and dangerous. But it is not equally dangerous to all. Nevertheless, our governor has shut our state down; including our right to congregate and worship. We are supposed to get details (finally) when some elements of his “one-size-fits-all” shutdown will be lifted. I suspect, however, his ban on large-group gatherings will extend into the summer.
Your Council (elders and deacons) met last night to discuss our plans going forward. After a lengthy discussion, we decided to prayerfully consider our options over the next couple of weeks. That means we will continue to send out our “Order of Worship” and videoed sermons for at least three more weeks.
When we meet next time, three words will govern our decision whether we will honor the governor’s ban: Wisdom, Faithfulness, and Courage.
Regarding wisdom, when Jesus sent out the Twelve, he said to them, “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). We live in an evil age. As such, we are to be discerning and shrewd while at the same time being blameless and virtuous. We will attempt to find that “sweet spot” that exemplifies wisdom and innocence.
Regarding faithfulness, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:16). We are commanded to worship, individually and corporately (Hebrews 10:24-25). We certainly are able to do so now as individuals. Collectively we have been told we cannot. This weighs on us. We are providing the ministry of the Word each week in our “Order of Worship” and accompanying sermon but we miss the sacraments and fellowship.
Regarding courage, the Apostle Paul instructed the church, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). We will honor and pray for the governor (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). But we are not afraid to cross him if we believe him to be in error (Acts 5:29). Ultimately it is not his decision as to whether we meet. That decision belongs to the governance of the church and family. Please see our video sermon “Who Says We Can’t Meet During the Virus?” (April 26, 2020) for more on this.
During this time, we are asking that all our members and families be wise, faithful, and courageous. Take advantage of the unique circumstances in which we find ourselves. Don’t just watch the weekly sermon. Work through the “Order of Worship”. Just don’t wait or expect the church to minister to you; reach out and minister to others.
Lastly, please pray for your elders and deacons, that we might be wise, faithful, and courageous as we move forward together.
God Bless you All,
April 30, 2020