Anyone accepting the new ‘normal’ yet, well, at least normal for now (we pray)? What’s really going on? Given our current COVID context many are finding it to be annoying, confusing, isolating, boring, tense, anxiety-inducing, and depressing. Worse of all many people have died and or fighting to live as we read this. (A doctor in New York recently committed suicide).
This is a pandemic, yes. With this pandemic comes not only a sickness that can kill you and many people on the planet, but it basically shuts down your life in another way. It has been two hard months of isolating, and social distancing. I’ve heard many people mention that they miss seeing each other, fellowshipping and worshipping together. I miss it too. But I am taking notes, I’m trying to learn and grow both personally and as a leader in the Church. I hope that you haven’t wasted this experience either.
I was stuck on a few words last week as I was listening, processing, and praying: Interruption and disruption. Is COVID-19 an interruption? Is this a disruption? I found these definitions: :(v) stop the continuous progress of (an activity or process). : (v) interrupt (an event, activity, or process) by causing a disturbance or problem (Google). So how do you see our given context? Have our lives been interrupted or disrupted? Well both/and. We can see that by definition these verbs are doing something. Considering our ministries--the progress has taken a hit (thankfully not a devastating blow). Considering our mission—not so much. We have had to learn patience and long-suffering but we are still the body of Christ with the same neighbors, family members, and the same great community. Our mission is still to make disciples.
The Wesley Covenant Association had this in their recent newsletter: “This is a time of great disruption that will force us to re-imagine who we are, what we will be about, and how we will minister to the people in our communities. As hard as it is to do in the midst of a tragedy, we need to: (1) carefully consider our churches in light of our mission contexts; (2) pray, and then (3) discern how God wants us to change so we are faithful witnesses in radically altered environments. As Christians, we have always believed times of suffering and hardship are often essential to seeing new visions, but we must be alert and open to them.”
So church, above, is a good example of what to do and where to go from here? Personally, engage the Spiritual disciplines: Bible study, silence, solitude, fasting, connecting with other believers, and prayer (not exhausted), start with your own prayer life, establish a rhythm now. Notice how well we are still connected. You’re reading this now. We are recording four, sometimes five different groups a week for our worship experience. Our children and youth are still connecting and our Food bridge ministry hasn’t stopped providing for our community. We had two Holy Communion opportunities via the internet (not a big fan). We have married two couples and buried a brother and a sister in Christ. We go on… as we each follow the above instructions for this disruption let us not give up. Consider who we are and our given missional context, pray and discern how God is leading you, us.
Do we have a problem? Have our lives been disrupted? In ways, yes. Good news, This season will end; it may create a new normal. Stay alert and open to the Spirit of God and His leading.
IN HIS UNFAILING LOVE, Pastor Brian Sanderson