These are certainly unsettling times, wow! The news changes and morphs every day. More and more restrictions are being put in place. We are not sure what the future holds.
We as a church leadership are working to keep people connected and to help each other when needed. We are also committed to being a community of faith--followers of Jesus in and through every season of life. Therefore we will be sending you some info, updates and things we hope might help us be faithful and steadfast during these days.
I am sure you are getting lots of information regarding Covid-19. I wanted to pass along a few things that I hope might encourage you. I hope they may be helpful for you.
A few verses for today:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7)
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7).
"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).
2. Hand Washing
This ideas comes from the pastor of the Prince George Christian Reformed Church (PGCRC):
One of the practices that I'm encouraging at PGCRC is for people to recite the Lord's Prayer, or the Apostles' Creed, or the Ten Commandments when they wash their hands, so as to ensure that they wash thoroughly for 20-30 seconds. These three 'rules of faith' are what comprises the Catechism. The term "Catechism", as you may know, does not just refer to the Heidelberg Catechism, but it refers to the combination of these three rules of faith, and how a church tradition teaches them. So my encouragement is to "Catechize while you sanitize"
3. Martin Luther And Covid-19
A friend from a local church in Burnaby sent the following to me. I found it helpful and wanted to send it on to you. The history of the church has much to help us during these uncertain times as we deal with Covid-19, our modern "plague."
"The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 50% of Europe's population. What was Martin Luther's response to the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague when in August of 1527 the plague struck Wittenberg and numerous people fled in fear of their lives? Martin Luther and his wife Katharina, who was pregnant at the time, remained behind.
Martin Luther explained his decision: “You ought to think this way: 'Very well, by God's decree the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.
If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.
If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely."'
This is how we as followers of Jesus should respond to the coronavirus. We will "love our neighbours as much as we love ourselves." Did you know that when the plague struck, Martin Luther had been severely depressed and bed ridden by the death of his daughter. Do you know what got him out of this depression? He got up to take care of his neighbours."