| Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4 |
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.
For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. – Romans 13:1
Years ago we made and distributed Covenant T-shirts that said “The Church Has Left the Building.” This week the symbolic expression becomes our reality.
On behalf of our church leadership, which has unanimously approved of this decision, I am sending you this notice to inform you that we are cancelling our on-site worship services beginning this Sunday, March 22, and until further notice. We do so in compliance with the instructions of our public health officials and government leaders as part of our collective effort against the coronavirus and for one another.
It is important for us to be part of the effort to stem the tide of this global pandemic. Right now this means refraining from gathering in groups larger than ten and to participate in voluntary “social distancing” as much as possible. This is not a matter of succumbing to mass hysteria or irrational fear. This is a matter of being good citizens paying attention to the God-given gift of good science and seeking to bless our neighbors as our God would have us do. As one of our members said to me recently: “It isn’t really fear for me, but a desire to see this end as quickly as possible while protecting our most vulnerable… which includes many of our own church family.”
So, we will not meet together in the Lord’s House at 6695 Mae Anne Avenue for a while, but we will still meet together to give proper worship to our God and Savior each Lord’s Day as we are called to do. We will just do so in a new way.
With the help of a small production team, each Sunday morning we will live-stream a worship service (with Announcements, Scripture Readings, Music, Prayers, Hymns, Offering and Sermon from Romans) for you to participate in from home via your computer. I
am working with some of our Covenant tech-smart folks to make this available through UTube and Facebook each week. Watch for instructions for accessing our on-line worship services in the next couple of days.
It was a magic moment for us at our last church staff meeting when we thought of the three “Covenant Core Values” our leaders affirmed at our recent retreat—Teaching God’s Word, Relational Emphasis (Each Person Matters) andCommunity Focus—and realized how significant they were in the midst of this current and rapidly changing crisis.
We are accepting the challenge of finding new ways of keeping God’s Word before us when we aren’t able to meet together in person. So, on-line worship and teaching, here we come!
We will make our family-of-God relationships a continuing priority despite the challenges of not being able to touch base with one another through live gatherings. So, I encourage us all to make extra efforts to communicate by phone and e-mail, etc. in the weeks ahead. As I mentioned in my last post, I would especially urge you to reach out to your church family somehow if you find yourself in need.
Community focus? We know this March Madness makes now an important time for us to shine forth to our neighbors with the love of Christ. Time to check on those who live near us. Time to share what we have and do what we can for the benefit and blessing of those around us.
In the midst of all the uncertainties, let us hold dear and lift high the truth that our God is not surprised and has never lost control. Let us shine into the darkness with deep courage and confidence born of our sincere trust in Jesus Christ and shown in our actions.
And let us consider these words from Esther’s uncle Mordecai (Esther 4:14): And who knows but that you have come to [the city of Reno] for such a time as this? Soli Deo Gloria, Pastor Jay