Dear church family,
We’ve been praying, and I’ve been able to talk to Cory and Frankie about worship this week. Our first response was that nothing should prevent the worship of God. It is our most desperate need in our desperate hours. We must worship, and we will not allow a pandemic or any other threat to determine whether we will or not. That commitment still stands, but the reality is that I’ve been coughing worse and worse as the week’s gone on. I have no other symptoms – in fact I feel great! But it’s aggravated and enlarged our concerns about worship for us as a whole community.
Although it is in reference to a skin disease, there was a provision in the Old Testament (OT) law that even the high priest would not be allowed into the temple for 7 days after being exposed to uncleanness. That’s all about the OT ritual system and isn’t primarily about hygiene – but it does create a principle that there are appropriate times for distance, even in corporate worship. I think this is a principle that we can adapt and imitate in this context. It is only loving that we make sure we’re not a vector for the transmission of any disease, knowing full well that our trust is in God and we serve Him without fearing what this world fears.
Therefore, because of our commitment to worship and our commitment to love, we’ve decided to change things up this week, and perhaps for several weeks to come. We’re still trying to figure out all the logistics, to see what we’re capable of doing technologically, but we’re planning to have some simple informal worship in a home on Sunday morning, streaming in a message from me and making that available to anyone else who isn’t comfortable gathering with others at this point. We encourage those who are more susceptible to this virus, those for whom it is a real danger, and those who are feeling sick to not attend this home worship. We likewise encourage those who do attend the home worship to avoid hugs, handshakes, and other physical contact. This is, again, out of a commitment to love our neighbors, and our dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
The home worship will start at the same time as usual, 10:15 am. Details on how to participate in the gathering from a distance have been made available over email. Please sign up for our email list now so we can keep you updated, and email [email protected] if you’d like details about this Sunday’s gathering.
Remember in your hearts the most frequent command of the Bible: thus says the Lord, “Do not be afraid!” Let us not give into fear, or take any advice that our fears whisper to us. But let us worship Him and love one another.
Each of you is in my prayers. God is good. He cannot and never will be otherwise.