This is a brief summary of a number of conversations I've had with other pastors, on what we're hearing, what we're doing in our churches. Originally written March 17, 2020.
The attendance limits proposed by various governments (less than 50? Less than 10?) should be seen with charity as an attempt to provide Fifth Commandment* appropriate care for the general population (including believers) rather than anti-First-Amendment persecution of Christians. *(The Fifth Commandment means, in part, "We should . . . help our neighbor in every physical need." - Luther)
Church leadership walks a fine line between our desire to do ministry as thoroughly as possible and our desire to keep the people in our care safe from unnecessary danger; we find ourselves caught between the “[His angels] will keep you in all your ways” and the “You shall not put the Lord Your God to the test.” Our charity and love compel us to remind the people in our care of the following:
1. The Father who gave us His Son Jesus and adopted us to be His children through the Holy Spirit does not shame us for our anxiety, but invites us to bring the anxiety to Him so that He can care for us;
2. When He sometimes lets us walk through the valley of the shadow of death He also reminds us that He is with us so that we do not need to fear evil; and
3. Regardless of what becomes of us in this life, He is still our Mighty Fortress, our Trusty Shield and Weapon, and with Him the Victory is already won.
If we decide to suspend worship services "temporarily," we need to make a plan for resuming normal activities.
If we decide to continue as usual, we need to think about what modifications / adjustments might we make to our activities.
No matter what we decide to do, we need to communicate, communicate, communicate!
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