Perhaps not since 9/11 have so many people across the world been thinking about the same thing. Right now billions of people are thinking, “Will my family and I be safe from the coronavirus? Will I lose my job, my business? Will I have enough money to pay my bills? How long is this pandemic going to last? When will life return to normal? Are we going to be able to cope with a protracted period of confinement?” These are anxious and frightening times for all of us.
Please know that the Session, Board of Deacons, and staff are praying for you and your family and friends and our nation and the world that this world-wide pandemic will run its course quickly and that the leaders in government, medicine, public health, and law enforcement will make wise and effective decisions in the days and weeks ahead. Please know that we are doing our best at Trinity to be good citizens and wise stewards to ensure safety and good health for all. At this point, the session has extended the suspension of all activities at Trinity through at least March 31, and we will likely have to extend it again.
We will film and upload a worship service online beginning Sunday, March 22. It will be a 30-minute service that will include announcements, prayer, children's sermon, scripture, sermon, and a prelude and a postlude on the organ by Frank. We will post this on our webpage, Facebook page, and YouTube. Of course, we will not be able to receive an offering, but I will ask everyone who is able to send their pledge or offering to the church office by mail. The deacons and I are calling our senior members to check on them and ask if they have any needs and to offer encouragement.
The very name of the church in both Greek and Hebrew means “to assemble or come together,” and the first part of our worship service is called “The Gathering.” For decades most of us have taken for granted that we could gather at church weekly for worship, study, fellowship and mission. To be cut off from this vital practice of receiving and giving deep spiritual nourishment to one another is painful, especially for flaming extroverts like me. So, let me offer a little pastoral advice.
During the next several weeks we are going to have to spend a lot of time with our families/friends at home essentially quarantined from our normal activities. Let’s make the best of it! Practice patience and tolerance of each other’s quirks and habits. If familiarity breeds contempt so can too much close proximity! Spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible or other good books, play board games, watch movies on TV, learn new recipes in the kitchen and rediscover the joys of cooking! Go outside and take walks around the block. Do a little spring cleaning around the house and yard. This would be a good time to declutter your house and make piles of old clothes, books, and other items to take to the second hand store when it is safe to do so.
And above all else, limit how much television news you watch. We need to stay informed, but watching too much negative news can wear you down and make you discouraged. Remember that scripture teaches that God’s people throughout history often faced struggles like famine, disease, political oppression, and even exile. But God always promised to be with them and to give them the necessary coping skills they needed to survive the storm and thrive again. So be assured that God will walk with us through this unprecedented crisis in our lifetime and enable us to get through this dark valley and thrive once again. Even though we cannot be together physically right now, we can stay in touch through prayer, telephone, e-mail, and many other modern technologies. Feel free to call me at 919-624-1142 or email me if you have a question or need.
God be with you until we meet again. And I hope it is sooner and not later!