I am writing today to inform you that we will be canceling all activities through Sunday, March 29 in accordance with the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and the mandate from the governor of Virginia.
As followers of Jesus, we wish to move forward in faith, knowing that we serve the Lord of heaven and earth and that we can rest in his care for us. We are not ruled by fear, but rather, we are called to exercise wisdom and good judgment as we seek to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
I want to encourage you in a few areas as we contemplate what the next few weeks will look like for our community and for our lives individually.
- In many ways, it seems that our society is coming to a stand-still. Schools, meetings, and activities are all being postponed or canceled. While many events are being put on hold, I would ask that you take this opportunity to stop, breathe, and be with God. The ancient practices of silence and solitude have sustained God’s people for generations, and I believe that we are being called by our Heavenly Father to deepen our communion with him during this time. Take time to be still and know that he is God. Even though we will not be holding services for the next two weeks, I invite you to set aside those regular times to come together as a household in order that you might worship, read God’s word, pray, and listen for his voice.
- During this time, we are reminded of our limits and of our dependence on God. We also acknowledge that this is a time that may lead to loss and grief for us. While our minds may immediately jump to the lives that are lost during the pandemic, there are many other losses that can occur. For example, think of the social and financial losses that take place as groups and businesses respond. In some industries, workers are pulled away from families in order to keep up with the demand for supplies and care, while in other areas, workers are losing their jobs due to closures. Other losses include simple things like the setting aside of our day-to-day routines and plans. Even something like a canceled trip or birthday party is a loss to be grieved. The Lord does not want us to ignore these sorrows. He is the God of all comfort who will comfort us in our time of need. As he strengthens us, he will enable us to comfort others with the comfort that he provides. God will use these things to draw us closer to him and enlarge our souls. So be patient and wait on him even when things are painful and confusing. He will bring forth new life out of the sorrows.
- Even though our corporate gatherings are on hold, we have an opportunity to strengthen community. During these next few weeks, I ask that you be in touch with one another on a regular basis. Make phone calls, send messages, do whatever it takes to connect with and care for one another. Pray together and share stories of what God is doing in your lives. If you currently have needs or anticipate a need in the coming weeks, please reach out and ask for help. Also, be thinking and praying about ways you can serve one another. For example, you may be able to shop for or deliver groceries to someone who is not able to go out. Ask the Lord to lead you, and as he lays people on your heart, reach out to one another in love, encouragement, and service.
As God’s church, we are not confined to a building or location. Rather, as people of faith, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts, and he fills us with peace and love. In this time of widespread fear, we have a tremendous opportunity to show the world the goodness and love of Jesus. May the Holy Spirit empower you to bear witness to his name. God bless you, and we will be in touch soon.
Grace and peace,