In the past few days six states announced an official end date to the stay-at-home orders implemented by their respective governors. Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas announced they will be reopening their local businesses in the coming weeks. Churches may also resume in-person worship.
My immediate reaction was disbelief. The curve has not flattened. Not even close. There’s no cure in sight and testing is still woefully inadequate.
On April 21 there were 25,000-plus new cases and nearly 2,500 new deaths.
Some wag commented: “It’s fine for churches to resume normal worship services as long as people don’t mind stepping over the bodies on their way into the sanctuary.”
A few weeks ago President Trump asked Dr. Anthony Fauci what would happen if he were to open up the country. The stark answer, “There would be a lot of deaths, Mr. President.” Fauci has said this about re-opening the economy: “Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery, economically is not gonna happen.”
Every Tuesday and Thursday at one p.m. the pastors of De Cristo and Grand Canyon Presbyteries meet via Zoom. The stress level among the pastors is generally high. A parishioner in a nursing home is dying and the pastor can’t visit. The church budget is taking a hard hit. One church wants to furlough its pastor. In a couple of churches there is a hard push by members to start Sunday worship again.
As I struggled to wrap my mind about the chaos Covid-19 has created. I discerned God telling me “Don’t Jump.” This is good advice for pastors and parishioners alike.
Don’t jump on the bandwagon and think you MUST do anything now.
Don’t jump into crisis mode and start over functioning again.
Don’t jump into fielding calls and answering text messages before you consult with God.
Don’t jump to conclusions. The world needs our open hearts and open minds.
Don’t jump into a scarcity mind set. They will know us by the abundance of our hearts.
Don’t jump to the beat of the sirens song of the urgent, and forsake what’s really important.
Don’t jump at the opportunity to follow. You are called to lead.
Don’t jump to return to business as usual,
Don’t react to the ever-changing news.
The time to rest in the presence of God is now.
The time to discern and reimagine possibilities is now.
The time to be still and know that God is God, is now.
The time to be faithful is now.
Whatever you do, don’t jump!
“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” –Martin Luther
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing:
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work his woe;
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth is his name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,—
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! His doom is sure,—
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers—
No thanks to them—abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also:
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is for ever.
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PS: Just as I was completing this E Votional I learned that Debbie Olsen and her daughter, Kylee, had tested positive for the virus. They are both very ill.