Dear church family- Coronavirus Update July 27th, 2020:
“I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Mt.16:18
Those words above are powerful. Their power comes from their speaker, Christ Jesus. His words have never, and will never fail for He is The Lord and Head of the Church, which is His body. The empirical evidence of this is in the continued existence of the Christian Church. Consider it meager beginnings from just a handful of disciples and some women followers it is now the world’s largest religious group with 2.4 billion adherents (2015). But it has not always been easy.
From the very beginning, the Christian Church has suffered and endured challenges from both within and certainly from without. Except for the Apostle John, all the other Apostles were martyred. The burgeoning church became the target of Rome and endured successive waves of varying intense persecutions starting with Nero in 64AD until Constantine became Emperor in 313AD and made Christianity the religion of the Empire. But during those earlier persecutions, the church had to adapt. They could no longer meet in homes or buildings and some met together by hiding in the Catacombs. Such adaptation kept the church alive down through history to our present day. Corrie ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer held “church” in Nazi death camps and people were saved! No matter the conditions, Christ was still building his church.
A 2015 study of Global persecution entitled, “Under Caesar’s Sword,” reported;
“researchers have studied the character of these responses in twenty-five countries around the world in addition to “The West.” Eight findings arise from these studies: The first is of most interest;
1. Christian communities most commonly adopt survival strategies. While these strategies are defined as the least proactive form of resistance to persecution, they often involve creativity, determination, and courage.
These strategies include going underground, flight, and accommodation to or support for repressive regimes.”
I relay this information to point to the fact that the church is by nature, adaptable. I think this is important for us today to recognize as we implement creative ways of “doing church” as we adapt, not to persecution but to the Covid-19 restrictions. We always say, “The church is not the building,” and that is absolutely true. It is the people of God. But the Bible also teaches we are to both assemble and fellowship with one another. This is the challenge of our day, to meet and fellowship while social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding large assemblies. So, joining the historic church we have adapted and have been creative in using modern technology to maintain the fellowship and meetings during this time of COVID. At this moment, this is where we are and we must adjust and adapt the best we can.
Our dedicated computer team of Steve and Peter has worked hard putting in a good deal of time to provide for our meetings and worship services. It is up to each person to avail themselves of these services, Sunday worship, Wednesday Prayer Meeting, Summer Thursday Evening Sunday School, to stay connected to the body. Recently, we have opened the church for Sunday worship and various meetings. Some, who are comfortable, have been coming out to attend. Others do not feel secure yet and remain home participating either through YouTube or Zoom. That is fine. The important thing is that we stay connected and participate. For we are still the church and even during these unprecedented times Christ is still building HIs church. We still have opportunities to worship and praise, learn and grow, fellowship and pray, serve and encourage, so let’s do it!
Let me again encourage you all to bless others by submitting a “Share Your Thoughts” comment on how the Spirit blessed you through the sermon. Also, stay in contact with others and maybe even host a small Zoom meeting yourself. If you are comfortable, invite a couple of two over for an outdoor BBQ. Like you, I pray that this virus will soon end. But, let’s be creative about maintaining church life even now in this, our present reality, for we are still Christ’s church and not COVID or Hell can defeat us!
Peace in Christ,
*Note: The adult Sunday school class on the Book of Job will continue a few weeks by Zoom on Thursday evening @ 7:30PM replacing the Praise and Testimony time.