The following was shared with our Mosaic community. I share it here for pastors who might be helped with what to say, and for anyone who is ready to join us in prayer over this current crisis we are in. Read on:
These are strange days, aren’t they? When pro sports are cancelled for a whole season, and colleges are sending students home for the rest of the semester, we know we are in uncharted territory. We’re all wondering: what exactly are we to do?
The conflicting reports concerning the global viral outbreak seem to prove that no one knows exactly how to navigate this most unusual season (they definitely didn’t teach us how to handle things like this in seminary!). But even so, we are a strong and faithful community and I am confident of our character. We will figure this out together.
Let me share two kinds of thoughts — one practical and one spiritual. I hope you’ll stay with me to the end, so you can get to the good stuff about how you can actively participate in ending this crisis.
First, some practical thoughts: Like you, I continue to read about best practices, and also listen to our local professionals. The basic protections are in place at Mosaic:
- Hand sanitizer is available throughout our facility. Frequent hand-washing is still the best way to stay healthy in any season.
- Kids will wash hands upon entering KidCity. Their usual health guidelines will be in place (parents should have received those guidelines by email earlier this week).
- Surfaces will be cleaned with bleach frequently.
- Greeting one another, as disappointing as it is for a congregation that loves well, should be limited to loving smiles. We will continue to hold off on greeting each other in the service, so that folks don’t have to worry about spreading germs.
- We encourage anyone who is not feeling well, or those who are anxious about being around others, to stay home and rest.
- Since we hold communion about once per month, we will not be serving it again for several weeks, and will make a decision then about the best way to offer the sacrament.
There has not yet been a case of COVID-19 in our area (as of Thursday evening), but we are prepared to suspend services when that is called for. If it seems best to you to stay home on Sunday, I strongly encourage you to listen to our podcast so you can still engage the message and participate in that way. Messages are posted by Monday afternoon. I also humbly ask that you continue to give electronically in this season through Realm, our website, or by texting GiveMo to 73256.
What happens if church gatherings must be cancelled?
We encourage you to download the Zoom app now, so you’re ready should we need to livestream our service on a Sunday morning. That will be the platform we use, should we decide to livestream Sunday worship.
And now, a spiritual word:
In an article about the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore, pastors reflected on their experience and one pastor offered this word: “The biggest lesson for me has been navigating the road between fear and wisdom. It is especially tough as fear often has a way to masquerade itself as wisdom. How many precautionary measures are actually sound judgment and how many are too much, such that they teeter over into irrational fear and anxiety? It is a tough road to navigate, as we had to both convey safety to our members—by way of implementing recommended health measures—and yet not succumb to the cultural climate of fear, anxiety, and self-preservation. We do so in all our notices by ensuring that we are not just communicating measures but also casting a vision for how to be the people of God in this time.”
What a great word for all of us. How can we be the people of God in this time?
We can strike a wise and compassionate posture. I am discovering the importance of acknowledging the very real anxieties of so many, and also the importance of not feeding fear. In a time of corporate high anxiety, I believe it is both compassionate and wise for Christians to respond as those who trust in a sovereign God and an eternal realm. We can acknowledge the seriousness of this tough season and care for one another’s concerns without stoking unhealthy fears.
On facebook and in conversation, think “wise, compassionate and courageous.” That seems to be the right posture for one who has faith in Jesus.
We can pray. In fact, I would challenge you to manage your time so that you’re spending more time in prayer than in fact-gathering. Nothing we do can make more of a difference than prayer. How should we pray?
- Call on the Lord boldly to defeat this crisis. Start there. Ask God moment by moment to kill this virus and defeat the enemy that is spreading it.
- Pray against the politicization of this virus.
- Pray especially for older adults (the average age of those who have died is 80), and for those in fragile health.
- Pray for healthcare workers.
- Pray for small businesses, churches, schools and their leaders. Making good choices is a challenge when we are all in uncharted waters.
Let’s pray TOGETHER!
On Friday afternoon (3/13) at 5:00 p.m., we will host half an hour of prayer specifically targeting this global crisis. “Zoom” is an app you can download that will allow you to participate in this conference call. You can access it by phone or computer (link below). We’ll take thirty minutes by phone to pray together over the current state of things and to seek God’s provision, healing and wisdom. Let’s use this time to build our faith in the power of prayer.
Join our Zoom prayer call on your phone by dialing 646 558 8656, and use this Meeting ID when you call in: 286 156 120#.
Feel free to spread the word about our prayer call! We can host up to 150 people on a call. Let’s storm the gates of Heaven on behalf of our world and God’s people, and seek his power to end this madness!
We need one another’s compassion and patience as we figure out how to truly be the people of God in a hard time. Keep the faith, friends. God is HERE. We are not alone.
Much, much love,