When I got into my office this morning, I looked at the note I sent updating you all on the outcome of the meeting to decide when and how to open the church. I have to admit, I was thrilled that we have begun the process but also a little sad. Music has been such a huge part of my life and the thought of not singing in church seems so wrong. Then I imagine what it will look like to look out into a sea of mask covered faces. I lament at not being able to hug people or even shake their hands. This virus has changed a lot of things and the “new normal” seems so abnormal that its going to be hard to get used to.
As you might imagine, I got many responses that were happy we were being so careful and then I got others that wondered why we were taking so many precautions. I get it, I really do. My impulse is just to dive into services again like they used to be. One side of my overactive brain says, “Let’s police ourselves and trust in God to protect us.” The other part of my brain says, “You have a responsibility to protect the flock God has given you in every way.” Both sides have merit, but in the end, I believe that we have to take this one step at a time and the first step is extreme caution. Ephesians 5:15-17 reminds us, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” I believe the Lord’s will is that His people are safe.
Taking precautions doesn’t mean that our faith in God is weak. Caution shows God that we truly care about our well-being. Now, just as in fear, there is rational caution and there is irrational caution and our job, as a team who is trying to go about this in the safest way possible, is to base our recommendation on rational and well thought out plans. James 4:17 says, “So, whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” I believe we’re going about this is the right way. Yes, we may have to wear masks for awhile and refrain from singing, but this too shall pass and we must be patient….and a little cautious. I think about Proverb 22:3, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Even if we have to hide our faces for a while, everything is going to be ok. God’s in control.
So, I’m asking those who are wishing things were getting back to normal much faster to be patient with us as we rely on God to bring to light the best path to take. And I ask all of you who see the value in our cautious approach to trust in us when we move forward to less cautious measures. I have full faith that God will direct us in obvious and upright ways. The fact that the process has started is absolutely fabulous! God has a plan for His church and specifically for Prince of Peace. Our ministry will continue and, through all of this, we will continue to find even better ways to spread the Gospel through our words and our works. Together we will continue to do great things for the kingdom of God, even if we have to wear masks while we do it. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, this shutdown of normality has affected your whole church. As people make the transition back to public worship, bring peace among its members, patience amongst Your servants and a quick remedy from the effects of the virus on every society on earth. Help us to worship you no matter the conditions and may this experience help remind us of all the blessings You have given us. Thank you for your loving guidance and lead us to make the right decisions according to Your will. Amen.