My, how things can change in a week! COVID-19 was in my peripheral vision at this time last week, and now it has – for now – profoundly altered life as we know it. In the midst of all that is in flux, I’d like to share a few thoughts.
First, God is with us. Scripture reminds us that God has been present with God’s people in the midst of all kinds of crises: wilderness wandering, enslavement, exile, persecution, and more. I encourage you to look around for signs that God is at work.
Second, one of the ways we can be Christ to others right now is to stay physically away from them. That statement is a strange one to ponder. Christians are people of the incarnation. Jesus used proximity and touch to heal the sick and reconnect the isolated to community life. In the face of a pandemic for which there is no vaccine or cure and no one has developed antibodies, though, loving our neighbors means limiting the spread of germs as much as possible. I have zero doubt that Randy and the deacons made the correct call by suspending in-person worship.
Third, I believe there are opportunities for new ways of being church to one another hidden in this situation if we’ll look. Church folks will have to get creative about connecting to one another and caring for the larger community. But I know the people of First Baptist are both compassionate and resourceful, and I am eager to see what possibilities you come up with that could have positive impacts far beyond the end of this crisis.
Finally, I’d like to offer an assurance. The final congregational conversation scheduled for March 29 will be rescheduled when it seems good and wise to gather again. In the meantime, I have told Randy that I would like to support the leaders and the church as a whole in any way I can. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if I can be a resource.
I am praying for you and looking forward to seeing you again in due time.