Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!
It has now been 6 Sundays since we were last able to gather together in worship and fellowship. The good news is that we are now working toward reintegration. We still have a lot of work ahead of us as we prepare to relaunch our in-person worship services in the coming weeks.
However, we want to assure everyone that we will be following every precaution necessary to begin this three-phased approach for reentry into in-person worship and fellowship. It is not going to be an easy task, but we are committed to doing this as quickly and judiciously as possible.
At this time I will not go into all the details, however, if you read the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, this document lists the framework for this process. The tricky part is going to be putting these guidelines into practice in our specific circumstances. Therefore, we will err on the side of caution in any of those difficulties.
We can give thanks to God this epidemic has not been as widespread in its devastation as feared. This is not to minimize the horrible suffering that some have endured. Make no mistake about it, this virus is terrifying and deadly and we should mourn with those individuals, families, churches, and cities that have been drastically effected by it. However, in relation to the widespread scale and ramifications, most of us have not been terribly impacted.
We are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination and there will be significant consequences still to come at the very least, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. We must remain prudent and sensible even in our hope that things are heading the right direction.
If such is the Lord's will, we must confess we are getting off easy in comparison to our individual and corporate sins. Yet, even in this, I hope we have learned more about ourselves causing us to humbly bow before the Lord in repentance and amendment of life.
This is going to sound insensitive, but if we have not fared so well thus far in this inconvenient stage, what would we do if we did face millions of deaths, an economic depression, or World War III? What if we did have to continue to shelter-in-place because the statistics were going the wrong direction?
These are important questions to ask ourselves not just for future reference but the continued possibility of this present crisis. For, if we have been wearied by the infantry (foot soldiers), how will we contend against the cavalry (horse soldiers)?
"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?" –Jeremiah 12:5
1. Trust in the Sovereignty and Providence of God in all things, both the things revealed in His Word and the secret things revealed in His eternal decrees that have not been revealed to mankind;
2. Faith and Repentance in Jesus Christ alone for the remission of our sins;
3. Obedience to all legitimate authority without murmuring and insubordination.
These things are not only significance to a watching world in midst of trials and afflictions, but they will be most crucial after the crisis. The way we have conducted ourselves in word and deed will either increase or diminish our moral authority to address these issues in the months and years to come. If our faith is not strong enough to sustain us in affliction, the world will not deem our faith to be of any value.
You all are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you, miss you, and thank God for you! Thank you for your prayers and support. Remember to pray one for another, and while you are at it, pick up the phone and give someone in our church a call. As we have said many times, don't curse the darkness, light a candle.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
James Brown Jr.
Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity