“The church is to be a living exegesis of the gospel.” — Michael J. Gorman
We were made for times like this. This is where we, as the Church, get a chance to truly live out what we confess in times of ease and comfort, practice what we declare as true. This is where we get to be the “living exegesis (explanation, demonstration) of the Good News.” The most often-repeated command in the Bible is “fear not/do not worry.” Take a minute and read the words of Jesus to his followers, to us.
Luke: 22-34 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For there is more to life than food, and more to the body than clothing. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add an hour to his life? So if you cannot do such a very little thing as this, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the flowers grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, how much more will he clothe you, you people of little faith! So do not be overly concerned about what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things. For all the nations of the world pursue these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, pursue his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out—a treasure in heaven that never decreases, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
These are not empty words, promises meant never to be tested. This is deep truth, ultimate reality. And it’s only in times like these that we get to understand them, experience them in deeper ways. We will not fear. We will also move forward with sobriety, responsibility and sacrificial obedience to God. We will organize our meetings, our resources, utilize our gifts and talents, for the greatest benefit of those in the most need. This is no time to hide away in bunkers, to selfishly hoard, to operate from a mindset of scarcity and selfishness. Friends, we are the Church. We, of all people, are prepared for situations like this. This is an opportunity for Grace Church, to get out front and be the voice of faith over fear, generosity over hoarding, peace over panic, service over selfishness.
Know this is going to mean some major changes in what “normal” means. We are going to have to communicate and coordinate more, not less. While we might have to keep greater physical distance, we must come closer in other ways. We can do this. We will be consistently communicating opportunities and information through our regular channels; our webpage, social media and emails. All questions and needs should be funneled through the Catalyst Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Humbled and grateful to be serving alongside each and all of y’all,
Grace and peace,
“How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic [means of interpretation] of the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.” — Lesslie Newbigin
“The church is never true to itself when it is living for itself, for if it is chiefly concerned with saving its own life, it will lose it. The nature of the church is such that it must always be engaged in finding new ways by which to transcend itself. Its main responsibility is always outside its own walls in the redemption of common life. That is why we call it a redemptive society. There are many kinds of religion, but redemptive religion, from the Christian point of view, is always that in which we are spent on those areas of existence that are located beyond ourselves and our own borders.” — Elton Trueblood