Being Church in the Age of COVID-19
Greetings Mac Cov family! What a joy it was to welcome and install our new Associate Co-Pastors for Youth, Karen and John Olson on March 29, 2020. We are so grateful that God brought the Olsons and their wonderful kids, Owen, Clark, Nora, and Ava, to be part of our church. We pray God’s fullest blessings on them as they begin their ministry among us.
I pray that you and your loved ones are well in body and soul, during these challenging times of COVID-19. I am proud of how our church community has leaned into its best instincts and is actively reaching out and caring for one another and for our neighbors. As I reflect from a mostly empty church building, I am thinking about how this unexpected time of quarantine is delivering unique challenges and opportunities for us as a global community and as a church community. The challenges are in full view before us every day - physical, economic, mental, and social challenges are significant and will continue to deepen in the coming months. We grieve the real losses around the globe and right here at home. God loves the world and grieves with us.
At the same time, I marvel at how in a matter of weeks, every organization and institution in the country has needed to “reinvent” itself at rapid speed, including the Church. As a global Church, we are now living out the concept that we’ve talked about for years, that Church is not somewhere you go, but who we are. Church is not the building, it’s the people of God on mission. The Church is not a Sunday-only destination, it is an active community of believers following Christ, living out our faith in the world everyday. Jesus was Lord before COVID-19, but it feels as if for the Church, the “pre-season” is over, and it’s “game on.” In the midst of the storm and disorientation that we’re all going through, this is an extraordinary moment for the light of Christ to shine in and through the Church.
I think about the ways God has perhaps been preparing Mac Cov for this moment. Over the past year, we’ve studied New Testament passages that instruct us on how to be “Church at its Best,” with the multitude of passages about how we are called to relate to one another (serve one another, love one another, pray for one another, submit to one another, carry one another’s burdens, etc.). What better time to apply these practical teachings than this very moment while we are apart yet in need of community? God has stirred us with a vision to be a “Deep Roots, Wild Branches” church. What better time to go deeper than we’ve ever gone with the Lord and with each other? What better time than the present crisis to explore tangible, innovative ways to express the good news of Jesus to those around us? Our “reach” as a church may be wider than ever before with the accessibility and platform of digital media that we are now utilizing. What may be equally or even more impactful is the simple kindness and prayer that we can offer our neighbors in Jesus’ name. Keep looking for those who may need encouragement or practical assistance during this time of isolation.
It’s such a strange time that we’re living in right now. I am grieving the pain of the world and hopeful for what the Spirit is doing, all at the same time. During this unforgettable Lent, perhaps Jesus is inviting us into his death and resurrection in ways we couldn’t have imagined even just a few weeks ago. As we enter into Holy Week and continue journeying through this season of COVID-19, may God comfort, heal, fill, and transform us to be the Church for such a time as this. May the deep peace of Christ be with you.