It was a year ago this week that I first wrote here of this thing we were hearing about called the coronavirus. It would be a few more weeks before things went crazy, but even in that initial blog it was not hard to read of the uncertainty we were facing.
The concerns I expressed that day were three-fold: that the virus as a potential pandemic would be politicized, which clearly turned out to be true. That we didn’t know who to believe and how to discern between the true and false, which again has proved true through the whole process. And that the church would not react in fear, but would be sure to remain ministry focused instead of going into survival mode.
A year later, much water has passed under the proverbial bridge. “Covid-19” became an international pandemic and 2020 a year we will never forget. We faced shutdowns and quarantines, and argued over masks and vaccines. And here I am, getting over the virus myself. For whatever it’s worth, it really hasn’t been that bad for me, and though I am still a little fatigued, it looks like I will be fine. I am grateful for God’s protection, even as I look forward to my quarantine ending on Saturday.
A simple survey of our church members and regular attenders shows that we have had about sixty people in our church family who have contracted the virus over the last year, none of whom have been too serious or faced hospitalization. And as far as we can tell, no one has passed the virus on in church-related activities or worship services at Shelby Crossings. We have sought to be wise and careful, and we are grateful for God’s protection and grace toward us in this regard.
Yes, there’s been plenty of politicization of the deadly virus, and much misinformation has spread from all sides; and no doubt the whole pandemic has been a source of much division in the Church as a whole, even though the Lord has graciously protected our church body from too much disunity.
But here we are a year into Covid-19 and my question is still the same: how will we as a church live out and share the gospel and serve our community in this “new normal” world we are living in? In so many ways, things will never be the same, but the world is more needy than ever and the ministry opportunities are endless. How will we make the best of those opportunities the Lord has put before us to point people to Him?
I wrote a year ago comparing the contagious nature of the virus to the contagious gospel we have to share:
I also can’t help but be reminded that we as Christ-followers are carriers of a contagion of our very own–except that ours is not a disease, but a cure. Sin has a deadly effect on all humanity, but Jesus came and died for our sin, and He has given us His gospel to take to the world to rescue them from their fatal affliction. Just as we have been reading in the book of Acts in our current message series, the gospel was contagious in the the first-century church, spreading like wildfire first in Jerusalem, and then to all Judea and Samaria, and to “the uttermost parts of the earth.” That little group of believers huddled together in the upper room would go on to change their world after the Spirit came at Pentecost. And here we are, 20 centuries later, still sharing the contagious gospel with everyone we come in contact with, the only hope for the world today. So, who are you “infecting” with His hope this week?
Throughout history, the church has survived plagues, pandemics, wars and even politics. This too shall pass. But the gates of hell will not prevail against the church of Jesus, and we must be about our Father’s business of faithfully spreading His love and His gospel to all who will hear. May His name be honored through our church as we serve Him.
Thank you again for your concern and your intercession on my behalf. I am grateful for each of you, and look forward to seeing you on Sunday.