Is "gathering together" even a possibility anymore? What's next at FBCW?
New policies every day? What do we do?
Most of us have never faced something of this magnitude that literally impacts every member of our society in one way or another. Just today the mayor of Westbrook announced more changes including closing down all play structures and public fields and play courts. Our schools pushed the target for reopening to April 27. Our restaurants can only serve take-out or delivery.
Those who treated the spread of COVID 19 lightly are now being forced to reconsider as we went from 1 case in our state to approaching 60 today. Cases are doubling every 3 days and we are now doing everything we can to "flatten the curve" and slow community spread by social distancing and staying in place.
How will we respond?
We will pray without ceasing. Do you remember how your parents or grandparents went to WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRAYER MEETING? Let's do that online. TV's off, praying together. https://us04web.zoom.us/j/8692046450
We will commit to meeting together, albeit online. God has provided us a tremendous resource in this technology. Let's discipline ourselves to learn how to use it. Visit www.zoom.us and download ZOOM. You can use to host gatherings, online coffee time, book discussions or times to check-in. Houseparty is a very good app allowing you to have several people on the same screen seeing everyone's faces.
We will commit to spending time with our children, focused on worship. Gather them around on Sunday mornings. Involve them in our online activities. I will do my best to include them too.
We will jump back 20-30 years in time to when people used telephones to talk to one another and pen and paper to mail cards. Many in our older population don't have access to all this online stuff. (PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTACT DETAILS TO SHARA email@example.com or text it to 207-400-2481)
We will give out of what the Lord provides, meeting needs within our church body as the believers did in Acts 2 and then beyond, as we are able. Hoarding is not love, and it is not faith.
We will continue in mission. I have assured our community through its leadership that we will be here to love and to serve in every way possible, even if it is inconvenient, messy or difficult. Like Luther wrote during the Black Plague, we will be, smart and try to be safe but we will not abandon our neighbors no matter the cost. It is our mission and what we were created for, "to do good works in Christ. (Eph. 2:10)
Someone asked me if our "little church" could survive if this distancing stretches into months. They were surprised when I told them that I have no doubt at all. They were even more surprised when I told them that the church is more than 2.6 billion people strong and is the largest humanitarian resource in the world. Of course, I was talking about The Church of Jesus, of which our local church is part. Jesus promised his church would never die.
If we respond as we are called to respond, and if we love as we are called to love, and if we serve, in faith, as we are called to serve, God's name will be glorified, people will discover the true Jesus and the church will do just fine. I love this quote:
"The Church exists by mission, just as a fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission, there is no Church; and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith." - Emil Bruner, 1931
The needs are great but our God is greater. The fear is palpable but our God has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7) The anxiety level is high but our God promises peace beyond understanding if we will pursue him, trust him and rest in him.
The Lord holds us in his hand, Church. None of this is a surprise to him. This is an opportunity to share the hope of Jesus with everyone around us.
What's Happening This Week?.
SATURDAY @ 4:30-6 - CURBSIDE OPEN DOOR KITCHEN. (Vicki has limited the size of the staff to stay safe. Please don't show up to help before talking with her.) SUNDAY @ 10:00 AM - Worship Gathering ONLINE ONLY - M, T, TH, F @ 7 PM - ONLINE GATHERING CHECK-IN WEDNESDAY @ 7 PM - ONLINE PRAYER MEETING