LONGING TO BE WITH YOU
While praying through Philippians 1:3–8, and I was particularly struck by v. 8, “For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” Yes! The apostle Paul wishes he could be physically present with the Philippians, but he can’t be, because he is in prison. He knows he is present with them in Christ through the Spirit, and even through the letter he is writing, but those are not the same as physically being together. He longs for his brothers and sisters in the faith with all the affection of Jesus Christ.
I long to be with you again in worship, and I know you all do as well. Not through a screen, but lifting our voices together to God as we stand next to each other. Not isolated in our homes, but hearing the Word of God together as it is preached in real-time. In light of the continued need for social distancing, this is still a longing and anticipation, rather than an immediate reality. Before Easter, we had to make the decision to hold only virtual services for April. Unfortunately, the need to not gather together and only have virtual services persists, and we will continue to do so through at least May 30. My hope and prayer is that we will be able to gather for worship on May 31, Pentecost, and celebrate the birth of the church in the power of the Holy Spirit in one another’s presence.
When we do gather together again for worship, please know that we will do our best to do so in a way that honors God and works to protect one another. We are currently working through plans on what worship will look like if we can only gather with a limited amount of people, what the Sanctuary, Welcome Center, and Sunday Morning Bible Study classrooms will need to look like to practice effective social distancing, what children’s ministry might look like, and how we can safely do things like communion.
Over the last several weeks I have often thought of how we are never able to choose our circumstances, but we are always able to choose how we honor and trust God whatever our circumstances. While none of us would choose to experience what we are going through right now, God knew Covid-19 would happen, he is in control, and he is building his church. There are opportunities right now to tell our neighbors about the good news of Jesus Christ that saves us from death, and to serve our neighbors and community with the love of Christ, that we might otherwise never have had.
In some ways, we have been forced to slow down and focus on the most essential things, including our faith
, family, and life itself. Let us continue to be the church: worshipping, praying, giving, reaching out, connecting, serving, loving, sharing, and on mission for Jesus. Even while we are unable to gather, please continue to reach out and let us know how we can serve and how we can pray. As I long to be with you all, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”