Peace and COVID-19 Update

Jesus told His disciples before He journeyed to the cross that He offered them peace that the world would never understand. The peace that Jesus gives is not based on things of this world but rather based on who God is and what He has done. The year 2020 has been one that many of us would never want to re-live. So much has happened this year that many times I feel that I am looking for the next shoe to drop. Currently, we are faced with rising numbers of cases of COVID-19 in our state. The unknown can be scary to say the least. We as humans like to have control over everything in our lives. As Americans this is especially true. On Saturday, our country will celebrate (in a different way) 244 years since the writing of our Declaration of Independence from England. This marked a new era for the colonies as they sought to be free from the nation that oppressed them in many ways. But when you look at history, you find that even after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the war for independence did not conclude until September 3, 1783. It was not until that day that we experienced the full extent of the freedom that the Declaration of Independence stated. For seven years after declaring together freedom from England, the colonies struggled and fought for freedom. 

So why the brief history lesson? I believe that it is important that we understand that struggle is a part of life. Suffering is a part of what we go through. The past three months have been a struggle for many – kids finishing the school year at home, unemployment, illness, just to name a few. Suffering and pain is not easy to go through but I believe that we need to focus back on Jesus’ words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27 ESV) If we are trying to find our way through life without Jesus by our side, we will never find true peace in our lives. We will never find true, lasting peace in things this world offers us. 

I have that peace. I take refuge in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to protect me, guide me, and use me each and every day. I know that many are afraid of increasing numbers. I know that some businesses are being shut down again. I know that the world tells us to be afraid. But Jesus offers hope. Jesus offers peace. David encourages us by writing, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1 ESV) David encourages us to focus not on the things going on around us but rather who our God is. He is the Light that guides our path. He is our Savior from sin and death. He is our refuge when the world comes against us. 

As we move forward though these unprecedented times, I have struggled with the decision to open our church for “business as usual” or to continue only streaming services online. I have struggled with understanding what is best to keep both my family and church family safe while providing for everyone’s emotional and spiritual needs. I know that some are ready to get back to “normal.” I know that some are fearful of the rise in COVID-19 cases. I know that some are not sure how they feel and are conflicted about what is going on in the world today. After much prayer, I believe that to keep our church safe, we will once again suspend in person worship and Bible studies on campus for two more weeks. We have ordered additional hand sanitizer stations and supplies that we should receive by the middle of July. While I do not fear this virus I do want to keep us all as safe as possible. I believe that this is the best course of action for the time being. I continue to watch our state numbers and pray that we will see a reprieve. 

While we continue to be physically distant, I encourage everyone to be socially present in each other’s lives. We need to make sure that we are reaching out to each other and helping in any way that we can. Many among us are struggling for various reasons. We need each other now more than ever. We need to truly be the church that God has called us to be and show love and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need each other to get through this and whatever else 2020 may hold.

Know that I love you all and long to be with you. I pray that God will strengthen you and provide for all your needs. 

2 Responses to “Peace and COVID-19 Update”

  1. Don Bachelder says:

    I’m in favor of opening up the services.
    There is always going to be a chance
    someone will get the virus. Overall I feel
    we need to unite as a brotherhood regardless.

  2. Carol Weller says:

    I believe that you are making the right decision not to open for a little while longer. Being of an older age and have an under lying condition, I feel better staying home right now and watching the on line service. I do not live in fear but I do what is best for Ray and I. God will let us know when we need to get together again. God bless you Pastor Ryan.

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