Below is a recent post from Pastor David’s realm group, “Leadership Matters…”. To join this group, get connected at fumcwp.org/realm.
“If you are like me, you find yourself more and more checking the latest update on the web, watching the news and discussing COVID-19 with friends. I confess that I get this way every couple of years. Whenever a major hurricane seems likely to come through. Only this seems even more threatening. Because there is so much unknown. And because it has affected and yes – devastated so many.
And yet, in this season of anxiety, there are two things I find myself claiming. The first is community. In particular, my church family. My first reaction to every bit of news is to shut down, to back away, to withdraw. But deep inside I know that this cannot be sustained. There will be more distress ahead. There will be other things that bring anxiety. Life is constantly changing. And life contains threats. To navigate these changes and threats, I need others. I cannot imagine distancing myself from the strength, the encouragement, the care and the faith of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Now, please hear me when I say that I absolutely understand and support everyone who feels they need to refrain from gathering with our church family in person. The “in person” part is key. Our love for each other dictates that we do not harm others. Furthermore, we are to be especially mindful of those parts of our church family that are more vulnerable. When it comes to gathering, we must be thinking of others and not just our own desires.
It’s important to remember that there are other ways we can participate in the body of Christ. We live in an era of wonderful technology that allows us to text, email, call, video conference, share pictures, meet on-line. The key will be to make an extra effort to remain connected. When this season passes and life in person resumes, we don’t want to feel like we went backward in our relationships. Or that we lost touch with those who share our lives. So, let’s commit to touching base with others in the family (electronically)! Your brothers and sisters need you to reach out to them so that they can experience your support, your strength, your encouragement in Christ.
The second thing that I claim is that faith is not a feeling. It can sound a bit cliché when we are uncertain and afraid. But then it is when we are uncertain and afraid that we need to trust in God’s promises over our feelings all the more. I was reading in my devotion guide the other day. And it said this, “Be sure to distinguish between the fact of God’s presence and the feeling of the fact.” It went on to say, “Trust God’s Word and His power more than you trust your own feelings and experiences.” That really hit home for me. Jesus said that he was with us ALWAYS. So, take care of yourself, your family and your neighbor. Be wise. Prepare. AND through it all trust that God is present. That God is at work. And that God knows what you need.
One last thought! Perhaps this is a time when our church can surprise the world! To live in such a way that our neighbors grow curious about our behavior. Maybe it’s a time all the more to show our love for each other and our neighbor. Could it be that our current season is a time to demonstrate faith? When so many in our families and community have anxiety, we can point the way to the love of Christ that drives out fear.
Praying for you and yours!”
~ Pastor David