We Live In Interesting Times
The Pastor’s Ruminations during the Coronavirus, COVID19
May 30, 2020
I have spent hours during the past three months reading in the Psalms. They have refreshed me as, quite frankly, I have lamented “the way things are.”
I received a note this past week that said, “I am grieving” in regard to not being able to be in church with us tomorrow. Many cannot, for sound reason. Many can, and we will miss those absent. I think it is true that we have grieved together about our absence from one another. I've heard from many who are unable to come for good reasons and from many who are just excited about being in church. I applaud both for making wise decisions.
Psalm 122 has been in my mind. “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.’ “ The Psalm is about Jerusalem. Pilgrims sang Psalm 122 (among others) as they approached Jerusalem from afar for the Feasts of Passover and/or Pentecost. That first verse has expressed my attitude towards tomorrow. “I am just so glad we will be together.”
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Some reminders. In fact, the rest of this is simply a repeat from Wednesday, May 27. Pay close attention to the bold face at the end.
Tomorrow we will only meet at the 10:30 hour for our church service.
We intend to gather for church on Sunday next, May 31, God willing. There will be no nursery. Parents, the nursery will be available to you if necessary, but it will not be staffed.
June 7th we will add a nursery for the 10:30 hour. I will give instructions for communion that day next week.
June 14 we will begin our regular Sunday schedule with Sunday School at 9:00 AM and our Sunday Service at 10:30A M.
The beginning of Wednesday night Evidence will be announced.
The Wednesday Night Pastor’s Bible Study will begin June 24. That is because I have some unchangeable responsibilities on Wednesdays before that date.
Make note of these things.
We will not have Children’s Church until the Fall. Choir will not begin anew until the Fall.
If you should not come to church because of health considerations, age or any reason, exercise your freedom in Christ not to come with good conscience.
If you do come, there will be people here who do not meet your expectations. You are to, in Christian love, leave them alone as they exercise freedoms you perhaps do not have.
If you come and you think some present are over the top in their reactions to COVID19, you will leave them alone as they do not have freedoms you perhaps have.
I ask you again, go back to the website and listen to the sermons on I Corinthians 8-10 if you need a refresher in how to live and work with people who have different standards than you do.
For those of you who are not free to come, we will continue to record the services and they will be available online early afternoon on Sundays.
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Some instructions for Sunday.
We will only enter through the parking lot doors.
There will be a box mounted on the wall at the top of the stairs at both entrances for your giving. Please take care of that priviledge and responsibility as you enter or leave. We will not pass an offering plate.
One thing recommended is to remove hymnals and Bibles. We have not done that and have not done so carefully and thoughtfully. COVID19 has a life of minutes to few hours on surfaces. It has been almost three months since our hymnals have been handled. They are not going to be “virused” (a word I just invented). You will be using the hymnal or Bible briefly Sunday, return it to the rack, and then it will be un-touched for a week. If you are uncomfortable with that, please do not handle them. That is perfectly fine.
I mentioned this last week and reiterate it here. We will sing. Singing with face lowered will be (sort of) acceptable until this virus is deemed “passed.”
As you are seated you’ll find every other row marked for no seating. This is a request: please distance yourselves in the rows in which you sit. Households who live together obviously do not need to do that, but otherwise, simply look around and be careful. Be thoughtful. Act in deference to others.
One last thing about Sunday. We’re going to spend time, as much time as needed, to recount God’s blessings during these three months. Would you think about what you can tell all those here about what you have learned, how God’s Word has ministered to your soul, perhaps the blessing someone has been to you, how you have had service opportunities that have been new and fresh – however the Good God of Heaven has shown you His goodness during this “Safer-at-Home” period. We’ll encourage one another in doing so. I will return to our studies in I Corinthians 12. Our sermon title will be “Together Again” and we will study how we are all ministers after we’ve talked together about our ministry to one another.
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Dear People, we’ve spent this time being told what to do by “the powers that be.” We’ve sort of come to expect it. We will not do that here at church. We do ask you to practice what we’ve learned from I Corinthians 8 - 10. Look Around. Be Careful. Be Thoughtful. Act in Deference. Briefly, use the brain and the good sense the Creator God gave you. And let’s rejoice together!