Our Vision Team has been monitoring the current situation with regard to the coronavirus, and we are following the guidance from the state and county public health departments to postpone or cancel gathering to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, Life will not be holding in-person worship gatherings, but rather will be livestreaming our services on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lifecovenant). Need help? Instructions and resources for livestreaming can be found here on our How To Livestream page.
There are two motivations driving us. First, the safety of Life’s kids, adults, and any at-risk loved ones with whom they live or to whom they provide care. Second, a broader love of neighbor and concern for the common good.
As we have all seen, there is a certain inevitability to the spread of a virus of this kind, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do to blunt its impact. Many of the public health recommendations are aimed simply at “flattening the curve” – slowing down the virus such that it doesn’t overwhelm our healthcare system. With treatment, most will recover from this disease, but if the system gets overwhelmed then those most vulnerable to the virus will be that much more at risk.
Churches have an important role in this, as we are one of the main venues where people gather in larger groups. And while adults may be able to practice safe hygiene with one another, our kids cannot, which adds to the risk of spreading sickness. As one of our leaders put it, those of us who are healthy have a responsibility to care for those who are sick. Limiting our social contact for now, and in so doing slowing the spread of disease, is part of how we do that.
For the same reasons, in addition to Sunday worship we are also pausing all of Life’s small groups, Midweek, and StudentLife functions.
I’m reminded once again that the church is not the building nor what happens on Sunday. The church is the people of God helping one another grow as disciples of Jesus. It is going to be weird doing our worship virtually, but a part of me is kind of excited too. What might God be wanting to do in us through this? Here are a few encouragements as we go forward:
Come worship at Sunday’s online service. The author of Hebrews tells us “do not giving up meeting together” (10:25), and we want to do our best to abide by this, even if we are worshiping separately! Though we will not be in the same room, we will still be worshiping God together. Come to offer your praise, and trust that he intends to work in you as well.
Continue to give. Even though you won’t be present on Sundays, I want to encourage you to continue your practice of giving (you can do so online by clicking here). This is not just for the church to continue to operate, but because giving is an act of worship. In fact, if giving is not currently part of your worship, or is a haphazard practice, this might be a time to consider making it more of a spiritual habit (read 2 Cor 8-9 on this). And if anything, in this season there may be more needs in the Body than there normally is.
Ask, how can I love my neighbor? Depending on how this unfolds, this may be something as small as asking if you can pick something up for them at the store (though right now that is no small thing!), or it might be bringing a meal to someone who is sick or quarantined. And if you find yourself sick or quarantined, can you please let us know so we can help? Let’s be sure to take care of each other, friends.
Pray-act-speak the gospel to those far from God. We had already committed to this practice during Lent, but boy does this seem relevant at this moment. Everyone around us is thinking about eternal matters more than usual. Fervently PRAY that God will awaken your friends’ hearts to their need for him, ACT the love of Christ out in tangible ways, SPEAK God’s love and grace as he opens doors (Col 4:2-6). God will use you in this if you make yourself available. Let’s be those people!
Finally, I want to encourage us again to accept one another where we are (Rom 15:7). Avoid judging those who are more anxious than you are as paranoid, or those who are less anxious as irresponsible. That does no one any good. Like you, they are responding to the information they have, filtered through whatever responses their personal history inclines them toward. Show grace, don’t make yourself anyone’s judge, and let’s support each other wherever we are at.
In closing, I found this reading from the Psalms particularly timely. From Psalm 33:
No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
- Psalm 33:16-22
Lord bless you friends, and we’ll see you (online) Sunday at 10am –