March 25, 2020
Dear LBPC Family,
We are following Christ and being His Beacon through these days of isolation.
Two weeks ago on March 10 my family and I flew to Florida for a vacation to see our family. When we left there was a small concern about the coronavirus and there were already a few cases in the United States, but most of America was running as normal. We noticed less business travelers at the airport, but besides that life seemed normal.
We spent one week in Florida and when we flew home on the 17th we were flying into a very different world then we left. All gatherings more than 10 people were canceled, the phrase ‘social distancing’ was on everyone’s lips, you could no longer find any toilet paper or tissues in the stores, and hand sanitizer had been out of stock for a week already. The world had rapidly changed. Plans were cancelled and being cancelled for all of us. When we landed the airport was a ghost town. Chick-fil-A only allowed drive thru or mobile order, no customers were allowed in the store. This was the new normal, but it was not the world we left. This has been a reminder of what we know but sometimes forget. That our plans are all tentative – all based on factors we cannot control.
James 4:13-15 tells us that this is how we should live our lives. “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there, and carry on business and make a profit,” 14 you who do not know what will happen tomorrow, what your life will be like. For you are a smoky vapor that appears for a short time and then disappears. 15 Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
These last few weeks have been a reminder for us not to boast about tomorrow. For the things that we had planned from watching March Madness, to meeting together as the church have been canceled. We are reminded that God is in control, not us, and that we take for granted things tomorrow will be like today. Instead we should recognize that God is in sovereign control of all things – if he wills we will do this or that. The reminder that God is in control gives us courage and confidence to live in a world that is outside of our control. We know that we are in our Father’s hands and although our plans may not happen, God is still in charge.
Now I know that this COVID-19 has affected all of us, for some it is stressful with learning to do more with less resources. For others it is a struggle to not have personal contact with others. For some they are not able to go to work, and they are not sure what to do now. Most people I have talked with are busier than ever with caring for children and family members and learning to work from home, or they are carrying on work as their job is essential but life is not normal anymore.
Friends this is not a time to stop following Jesus and start panicking. We follow Christ seeking to become like him, to live as he lived, to be shaped in his image. Let us more than we watch the news about the outbreak, sit and be still in the presence of our Loving Father who holds us in his hands, allowing His Word to define, us not the world’s anger and anxiety. Let us seek to be shaped into the people of God during this time.
Yes, we take COVID-19 seriously, we do not ignore the reality that we are living through a pandemic unlike most of us have ever seen in our life time. Yes, we know that 2020 will be remembered by this Coronavirus. But we take this as a time to deepen our faith, to learn to walk in this new world as followers of Jesus. A crisis is a new opportunity to lean into Jesus and walk in step with the Spirit of the Living God.
So let us continue to be in touch through email, through text, through phone calls, caring for one another. Let us live out the hope we profess. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. We are a people of living hope.
Also if you have any needs or just need to talk, please call the church or email us at email@example.com. We your church family care about you. I appreciate all who joined us for our first Facebook Live worship service. I do want to let you know that church is not a building. The church is the people of God. While we can’t gather at the meeting house – we are the church, and our mission has not changed.
In God’s Grace,