The elders’ meeting this week was longer than expected. I guess we have just fallen in love with looking at ourselves on Zoom :).
As we have been doing each time, we shared updated information on “re-opening” from “official” sources. Once again, some of it seems to make sense while other parts are contradictory. Still, we try our best to “Render therefore to all their due….” Sometimes the political noise makes this difficult to discern but it probably wasn’t easy when Paul wrote that either.
We shared stories (not scientific surveys) from FBC folks about wanting to be together at 5590 N. Nevada. Most want to be back together for worship on Sundays and for other gatherings. However, some of that “most” group don’t want to do that under strict “social distancing” restrictions. Others from the “most” only want to gather if we assure them we will absolutely maintain those restrictions.
Contrary to what some of us might feel: Neither group is more righteous than the other. Neither group is less loving or loved. Neither group has more faith than the other.
[In the same “Letter to the Romans” where the Apostle Paul gave that difficult to “suss-out” command for submission to secular authorities, he wrote another command. This one also has, all of the sudden, become more relevant. “Greet one another with a holy kiss!” I’m not kidding when I say this command has become more relevant to me. I’m not arguing for lots of kisses. I am contemplating what this said about the way they met and what this might say to one another. If all this seems like gobbledygook to you, just chalk it off to a gobbledygooky pastor.]
We also prayed for you. We prayed with thanksgiving for the ways we know God is working in your lives. We prayed for the needs we knew about. We prayed for the many needs that remained unspoken. We trust you are doing this praying as well. Interceding in prayer for one another is a real and powerful aspect of our “koinonia” connection in Christ. Whether or not we get to gather and “kiss in holy ways,” we can express our love by praying for one another. It may not offer the same “emotional” uplift as a hug, but who would argue prayer is less potent?
Along with talking and praying, we decided we would not yet set a date for returning to one gathering on Sundays for worship in the building at 5590 N. Nevada Av., Colorado Springs, CO 80918. (Why does he write it that way??) We will continue to worship in the many places and ways that we are—apart from being with one another as a large group in one room, but all still very much connected to one another as the Body of Christ. As we have been, we will continue to pray that we will learn even better the mission of “being Jesus’ church” in a world we are not used to and find to be quite discomfiting.
With that less enjoyable part clarified for another week or two, let me tell you what you probably already know. God is still at work in us and through us as a church on his mission in this world. People who are in despair are being loved. Folks in financial need are being helped. Men and women without Jesus are being told the Good News. Whole families are being set free from bondage to destructive ways. God’s Word is being taught truthfully. God’s people are praising him together as twos and threes or even tens. His people are giving financially to support his work close by and afar. Praise the NAME of the LORD!
In all our weakness and still to be perfected lives and with our less-than-perfect living out being the Body of Christ—living in circumstances we never anticipated—here is where still apart-TOGETHER we sing (you really can sing if you want to click on or “paste” the link): https://youtu.be/2kmskQGUIlc
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Seemingly more mundanely, preparations to return to worship and gatherings in the FBC building are in a beehive of activity made possible by your 2nd Mile Servants. This youngish crew, facilitated by youngish Eli Makaiwi, has been cleaning carpets, painting, even patching some stucco (there is a real stucco artist among us). The grass is cut. The sign on the building is re-touched. Maybe best of all, the building has reacquired its bright red “lipstick” 😉 by the main doors. It always fades over the winter. These young men and women are not serving a building. They are serving the LORD and YOU in their hearts by making a building ready.
We have observed that folks their age never learned from Westley (yes there does seem to be a “t” in his name) in the movie “The Princess Bride” that masks, being so comfortable as they are, would become a common fashion accessory! The “servants” just don’t wear masks while they work. AND they just don’t seem to have the ability to stay six feet apart. They believe in “holy hugs” (and probably “holy kisses” too). They face the Corona Virus differently than some others do. I’ve watched. This is not rebellion in these choice servants. It is simply coming at circumstances differently because they are at a different age.
Seeing this phenomenon moves us toward setting up some smaller, face-to-face high school groups, now, to meet and to study a very helpful series of biblical lessons in living by grace called, The Cure. We plan to utilize some youngish teachers to lead these youngish groups. We will text the high school kids soon, if we can make this happen. However, if you have a high-school aged child and want to make sure they can participate, if and when it begins, please email their info to me at email@example.com just in case.
May God bless you with the blessings He wisely knows you need and please remember…
His is the NAME above all names. We live to glorify His NAME not our own!
The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!
Everlasting LIFE is a gift…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone!
We can’t GO to church…We ARE the church!
We can’t GO to church…We ARE the church!
In Christ, we are held together even when we are forced to be apart.