Remember with me the poignant words of King Solomon found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens: 2 a time for giving birth and a time for dying, a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted, 3 a time for killing and a time for healing, a time for tearing down and a time for building up, 4 a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing, 5 a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones, a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces, 6 a time for searching and a time for losing, a time for keeping and a time for throwing away, 7 a time for tearing and a time for repairing, a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking, 8 a time for loving and a time for hating, a time for war and a time for peace.
For those who have already seen the video that was posted on Facebook yesterday or who have heard through the grapevine that beginning this Sunday July 5th, we are once again temporarily suspending our gathering for in-person worship services, we might want to add: “a time to draw close and a time to distance, a time to worship in person and a time to worship apart…”
Even before this decision was made, there were many of us who did not yet feel comfortable returning for in person worship. This is certainly understandable as each of us is faced each and every day with important decisions on what to do or not to do in order to protect the safety and well-being of ourselves and our family.
As I’ve conversed with people over the last couple months, there has certainly been a great longing for people to be able connect with another in person and substitutes for this have been made through technology and other creative methods. However, what has grieved my heart is that in some of my discussions there has been a feeling of losing one’s connection with God because of the inability to gather in our Sanctuary with friends and family to worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
While I too long for the days of our entire church family being able to join together in worship; to pass the Peace of Christ with one another, to join our voices in songs of praise and prayer, to collectively attune our ears, hearts and minds to special music, the reading of Scripture and hearing the Word of God proclaimed, let us not forget that we love and serve a God who is omnipresent. To say it another way, we love and serve a God who is present everywhere and with everyone all at the same time.
For those who might be struggling to feel God’s presence in your life during this unprecedented time, let me share with you a few verses that I pray bring you comfort, hope and assurance. From Deuteronomy 31:8: “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” From Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” And of course, there are Jesus’s words in the second half of verse 20 of Chapter 28 (a part of the Great Commission): “I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”
I hope these powerful words from Scripture not only bring you comfort, hope and assurance but that they do such in such a way that you can’t keep this Good News to yourself but in fact you are compelled to share this with others!!!
My thoughts and prayers are with you ALL. If you have need please don’t hesitate to reach out to me either by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell phone at 214-803-3609.
Grace and Peace to you all,