Beloved in Christ at New Joy,
As the Israelites were defeated and taken captive into Babylon, they cried out, “How can we possibly sing the LORD’s song on foreign soil?” (Psalm 137:4) Their lament was one of being uprooted and disrupted, and of seeing the promise of the temple and their land taken away from them. It was gut-wrenching, disorienting, and devastating.
Our communities haven’t been sacked by invading armies, but we have been disrupted and uprooted by the coronavirus. The ways we send our children to school have changed. The economy is struggling, and millions are unemployed. Church has shifted entirely online. Our ancestors cried out about how they couldn’t sing the LORD’s song in Babylon. Many of you have told me that singing in your living room is just not the same as singing together at church.
And yet, we are not as people without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We have the hope and the promise that what we see now is not all that there is. Our situation will get better.
We know that our LORD blessed Israel in the midst of their exile. We know the great stories of Esther and of Daniel, of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We know that our God blessed his beloved people, nurtured and sustained them in their time of trial. Scholars tell us that it was during this time of captivity in Babylon that many of the books of the Old Testament were written down. Ironically – yet beautifully – it was during their time of greatest struggle and disruption that God’s people created a treasury of faith for generations to come.
Dear friends, I invite you – like our spiritual ancestors before us – to receive God’s blessings during our own time of disruption and uncertainty. I invite you to continue your prayers and worship – however awkward it may be – trusting that our Lord truly shows up as we gather in Spirit and Truth (John 4) across the miles, via wifi signals and on screens of various sizes.
And, I invite you to continue your financial support of the church so that we may continue and extend our common work together, however adjusted and disrupted these days, looking in hope to that time when we come together again in person.
I am confident that we will come back together in 2021. Those to whom God has given the wisdom of scientific knowledge are creating treatments and vaccines for this virus. Those to whom God has given a mind for logistics are planning the complicated process of distributing vaccines across our country. Those to whom God has given a spirit of compassionate leadership are doing all they can to limit the spread of this virus and working to make our communities safe for us to come together again. To God be the glory for their good and holy work!
Please use the online form to share your commitments with the church, so that our Finance Team and Ministry Board can plan our mission expenses for 2021 (see the button below).
I thank you for your faithfulness during these disruptive times. Indeed, by the power of the Holy Spirit, The Church Still Gathers.