“My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!” – Psalm 56:9
We made the decision to suspend services with a heavy heart last week. The reason the decision was so difficult was based on several factors: First, we are only 32 days from Easter; second, Hebrews 10:25 tells us “to not neglect meeting together” and third, there’s something intangible that happens when we worship God – out loud – with hundreds of people who share faith in Jesus. Sundays are an irreplaceable opportunity to take a step back from the busy day-to-day and directly praise the God that loves us and is incredibly worthy of our worship. But we felt this decision was essential if we are to protect those vulnerable to COVID-19 and the health system that will need to care for them.
Until it is clear that transmission of the virus has stopped and the curve has bent definitively in the other direction, the right choice was to cancel our services. We have every reason to trust that this epidemic will pass.
Obviously, there’s no substitute for meeting in person, but we know that’s not wise. So what do we do in the meantime? The obvious answer is to stay involved. We are strongly encouraging people to worship with us online. Then pray. Pray for our church. Pray for the sick. Pray for our leaders. If you cannot participate in the worship service in person unite yourself with God in prayer.
And be creative. Do some research on the message by consulting a podcast or Bible commentary on the subject, or call your small group or friends to share your thoughts and experiences on the subject. Reach out to the seniors in our church to see how they are doing and if there is anything you can help them with. Reconnect with people you haven’t talked to in a long while. Reflect on the Small Group Questions based on each week’s sermon found at northstar.cc under the connect link. Remember that Jesus said, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20) Remember too that the church is not a building. It is the community.
There will always be emergencies. We live in a world that is replete with emergencies: some big, some little, some important, some less important. When life’s emergencies have our backs against the wall when confounding circumstances have us going around in circles when perplexing problems have us pondering which way to turn, when fear, doubt, and dismay cloud our hearts and minds, we must call on the One who is well-able to solve all our problems and rescue us from every dilemma.
Jesus understands all the fears and worries that you have. Jesus understands you, not only because He is divine and understands all things but because He was human and experienced all things. Go to Him in prayer. And trust that He hears you and is with you.
- Does worry/fear reveal a lack of faith? Why or why not?
- In your mind, what should our reaction to the coronavirus be?