Monthly Archives: April 2020

A Pastoral Note & Info for Easter Worship – Weekend of April 10-12

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Easter is the most significant day on the Christian calendar. It may not evoke the same sentimentality as Christmas; nor is it anticipated each year with the same level of excitement.  Perhaps this is, in part, because Easter is so near to Good Friday that, reminded of our own sins, even our amazement of the miracle of the Resurrection feels somewhat tempered by our culpability that necessitated God to send Jesus to die in our place, for us. But it is the day we call Easter Sunday that we are most vividly reminded of the glory, the wisdom, and the love of our God. At Christmas we celebrate the free gift of God giving to us his son; on Good Friday we see the purpose for which that gift was given; but it at Easter we see the Christmas gift blossom into the radiance of the fullness of God’s grace!

Though, no doubt, many are disappointed that, of all weeks, the Church cannot gather this week, let us remember the fact that God has appointed every Sunday to be “Easter”. Every Sunday is ‘The Lord’s Day” – a celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection! For that we can all be thankful

For me, along with the promises of Easter, among that which I am thankful for is… you, the Grace Covenant family.

  • I am thankful for the testimonies I hear of how you are connecting with one another, and caring for one another, throughout the week.
  • I am thankful for reports I have received of your times of worship together (albeit via Zoom).
  • And I am thankful for your faithfulness and generosity. While reports are that between 75% – 90% of churches are already experiencing serious financial challenges, your tithes & offerings, to date, have enabled us to continue to meet our budget needs. More than that, your gifts have also resourced our Deacons to assist those with financial needs. This is a tremendous blessing, as our Deacons are assisting families both within our church and outside of the church, in the broader Historic Triangle community. While the needs from our church families have, so far, been relatively few, we anticipate that more needs will arise should the shut-down be prolonged. But thanks to you, our Deacons are in position to help.

So, on behalf of our Elders and Deacons, I say “Thank You”.

Finally, as in recent weeks, we have prepared a worship outline for your use. We will again embed videos for the songs, message, and Benediction into a digital outline for your use. The digital worship outline will again have a link to a .pdf of the service, making it easy for all those in your “gatherings” to have the tools to participate.  The digital outline will be available on Saturday afternoon, April 11; and the videos will be available to view by 8am on Sunday April 12. For those who want to prepare in advance for Sunday, here is the .pdf for Sunday: Grace Covenant Easter Worship.

May we all experience the joy of God’s love and grace and the hope that the Resurrection secured for all who belong to Jesus!

Grace & Peace,

W. Dennis Griffith, Pastor

 

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Maundy Thursday 2020: A Service of Lessons & Prayers

Maundy 3

Maundy Thursday is an important day on the Church calendar. It is observed the Thursday before Easter, and marks Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper for Christians to observe as both a remembrance of what Jesus did on the Cross, as well as a Means of Grace through which, by faith, Believers are able to mystically experience the otherwise intangible presence of Christ.

But Maundy Thursday is important for another reason, as well. It is often overlooked, but it is evident in the word “Maundy”, which comes from the Latin word meaning “Mandate”.  Maundy reflects Jesus declaring to his disciples – both those present that evening, and all who would come after them even to this day: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love love one another as I have loved you.”  Jesus demonstrated what he had in mind by falling to his knees and, one by one, washing the feet of his disciples. In some traditions the washing of feet is practiced as a ritual. In other traditions, including our Reformed & Presbyterian traditions, we recognize that the washing of feet in a sandal-wearing, ancient Middle Eastern culture, in which the primary mode of transportation was walking dirt roads and desert sands, was a practical need. Jesus was not initiating a religious rite, but rather demonstrating the practicality and humility by which love is expressed.

This year, in 2020, churches around the world have a dilemma as Maundy Thursday approaches; and this dilemma is doubled for those from traditions that recognize foot washing as an example, rather than a rite. Because of the dangers of COVID-19, and the social distancing that is being practiced in order to protect lives, Christians cannot gather in churches. Since we are not able to gather, we are not able to participate in the observance of the Lord’s Table that was initiated on that first Maundy Thursday.  (According to Biblical instruction, Communion is to be observed only when the church is gathered, in the context of worship.)  How do we celebrate Maundy Thursday with neither Lord’s Supper nor foot washing?

While many have chosen to forgo the observance of Maundy Thursday, we wanted to offer a resource for families and small groups gathering online wanting to engage in this traditional day on the ecclesiastical calendar.  So we have designed a Maundy Thursday service for small groups, following the pattern of Grace Covenant’s recent Sunday Worship (while social distancing), ending (essentially) with Prayer as both a Means of Grace (in place of the table) and a practical expression of serving others (i.e. the Mandate of Maundy Thursday.) We hope it is of some benefit to those who choose to use it.

Maundy Thursday 2020: A Service of Lessons & Prayers

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Grace Covenant: Info for Palm Sunday Worship

gcpc

This weekend we enter into Holy Week.  It is the most significant period on the Christian calendar – even more significant that Christmas!  The first Sunday of Holy Week is commonly called either Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday.

  • Those who call it Palm Sunday tend to focus on the entry of Christ into Jerusalem to shouts of: “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21.9)
  • Those who refer to the day as Passion Sunday tend to focus on Jesus’ suffering soon to be endured on the Cross.

It’s important to capture the irony of this day:

  • This is the day on which Jesus entered the city in triumph! – but as a part of his journey to the Cross.
  • This is the day in which the crowd’s cries of “Hosanna” would soon turn to “Crucify him!”

Our service this week, for the most part, follows the same pattern as has each of the past few weeks that we have been dispersed for our worship.  The primary difference being that the elements of the liturgy are designed to lead us to reflect upon Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – toward the Cross.  As we have encouraged each of the previous weeks, if you know of someone who lives alone, or if you are able to connect with other families, invite others to join your worship time through Zoom, Skype, etc. We also encourage that you print out the .pdf of the worship outline, so that each person has the tools for participating in the service.  Take a look at the service, and assign the various parts, before you sit down together. It might be even more important to assign parts in advance this week than in previous week. You’ll notice that the reading of the passage in preparation for the message is designed to be a dialogue, to reflect the conversation that is taking place between God and the prophet Habakkuk.

As previous weeks, the videos of the songs and the message will be embedded into our April 5 Worship Service Outline, and will be available for viewing by 8am on Sunday April 5. These are provided as resources to be used when you come to them in their respective places in the service.

As we begin this Holy Week, let us repeatedly remind ourselves of the message this week declares, as expressed by the Apostle John in 1 John 4.10-11:

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

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A Prayer for Palm Sunday

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Had we been able to gather together for Palm Sunday services at Grace Covenant, our Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Gwen Martin, was scheduled to offer the Congregational Prayer.  Though we are not able to gather together due to the threat of COVID-19, Gwen still composed a prayer that we share for use as a devotional tool.

***

Our Great God, You are seated on the throne, high and exalted. Hosanna in the hightest! You are Holy and Almighty, the whole earth is full of Your glory (Isa.6:1-3) You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations (Ps. 90:1). Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere (Ps. 84:10). Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage (Ps. 84:5).

On this Holy Week and Palm Sunday, may we behold the mystery of Christ our Savior and Lord – our King Who was robed in human frailty, Who condescended to take on flesh in order to ransom us and to become our atoning sacrifice for sin. Today we have this treasure in the jars of clay that we are, to show that this all-surpassing power of the cross of Christ is from God alone. So, now we fix our eyes on the Savior and King of our eternal hope.

We plead for our world. When our flesh and hearts are failing, encourage us to cling to You, our Messiah, as the strength of our hearts and our portion forever (Ps. 73:26). We pray for the Name of God to be lifted high among all peoples on earth and that You, Lord, will be worshipped by all. We pray for the timely spread of the message of the Resurrection and that many people will come to reflect the grace of Jesus Christ in the coming days. During these uncertain times, we ask You to draw nations of families to Yourself and bring healing to those suffering from the pandemic virus.

For our community, we pray for an abundance of Your mercy, asking you to sustain caregivers, medical and emergency personnel, and employees operating in areas of essential services with miraculous good health, protection, and physical and mental courage. May each one know that You are the Source of true help (Ps. 63:7) and that real shelter is found in the shadow of Your wings.

We ask for discernment and effectiveness for those who serve in leadership at Grace Covenant as each one faithfully applies their gifts to their God-given ministry. By Your Spirit, fully enable our church pastors, elders, deacons, and staff to continually carry out their leadership responsibilities as a fragrant offering and pleasing sacrifice to You, God.

For our congregation, we pray for spiritual unity and the ability to enter into worship in modified ways. Let us not become lethargic consumers of media. We ask You to meet us in authentic ways as we adjust to social distancing during this spring season when we are celebrating the hope of Easter. We ask You to provide a real sense of togetherness in Christ as we undertake to manage our temporary changes in lifestyle.

We pray for Your perfect knitting together of our unborn children, the health and protection of mothers-to-be, and the unconditional love of parents poured out for their children in their raising. Bring each covenant child to abiding faith and preparation to influence the world as those who have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Among our missionaries and members of the armed services, we pray that You grant the foresight, provision and protection needed for carrying out duties while making disciples, on campuses, at home, and abroad for Your glory. We pray for Your steady hand of guidance and Your gift of boldness. We pray for increasing reliance upon Your Holy Spirit for spiritual resources when times are tough, lonely or life-threatening.

In the face of the brokenness and turmoil of individuals in our church family, we pray that Your mercy and comfort will be even greater. In the face of illness and physical limitation, we pray that Your hope and healing will overshadow. In the face of loneliness, depression, anxiety, or weariness, we ask that Your support and consolation replace these things with the joy of the Resurrected Lord. In the face of all these things, make us a people who are not blind to the needs of others, but are instead responsive and compassionate.

Through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, help us to exercise our gift of faith in the realities of non-normal life. Give us unyielding spiritual fortitude as we are assured that You have overcome the world. Assist each of us in daily putting on of the spiritual armor from Ephesians 6 required to resist the enemy of our souls. We pray, Lord, that You would replace our distress and discouragement with deeper and deeper faith. And, may we experience and demonstrate Your resurrection presence daily.

In the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

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Grace Covenant Worship: April 5, 2020 – Palm Sunday

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GCPC Worship – April 5, 2020

Words of Approach     

~ Psalm 67:3-5

[Have one person read these verses aloud.]

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

 Song of Approach               

O Worship the King

O worship the King, all glorious above, and gratefully sing His power and His love;  Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace, Whose robe is the light, Whose canopy space, Whose chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form, And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite? It breathes in the air, it shines in the light; It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain, And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail; Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end, Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

Lyrics: Robert Grant
Music: Johann Michael Haydn
Public Domain

 Prayer of Approach

[Have one person pray this prayer aloud.]

O Lord Jesus, as you once entered Jerusalem, enter our hearts this day afresh. As you once set your face toward death on a cross, help us this day to walk with you to victory. As the children once cried “Hosanna” to bless you, enable us to confess you openly as Lord and Savior. Grant us your presence by the power of your Spirit, that our worship and our lives may truly honor you.  Amen.

 Gospel Lesson:  Palm Sunday    

~ Matthew 21:1-10

 [Have one person read this passage aloud.]

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”

4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”

 Invitation to Confession     

~ based on Matthew 21

[Have one person read this invitation to confession aloud.]

Like the people who greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem and then later pronounced “Crucify him,” we are fickle people who often deny Christ in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Remembering the events of Jesus’ last week helps us see ourselves for what we are: sinners in need of a Savior… In honesty and hope, let us confess each our sins to God.

Silent Confession of Personal Sin & Brokenness

[Spend a moment in silent confessing prayer. If you are not sure what to pray here is a sample prayer to use as is or as a template:]

[O Lord, I confess my hands are not clean, my heart is not pure. Forgive my fickleness and keep my faith constant. Lead me always to a deeper experience of your love. Enliven me by the familiar but always new story of shame and triumph, suffering and hope, that this week reveals. Mold me to the ways of Jesus, whose life we honor this day. ~ Amen]

Words of Grace  

~  from Matthew 20:28

[Have one person read this pardon aloud.]

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • In Christ, God answers us and sets us free!
  • In Christ, we are forgiven! Thanks be to God!

 

Song of Celebration          

Amazing Grace (Chains Are Gone)

Amazing grace How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found; Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior, has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy rains Unending Love, Amazing Grace.

The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.

My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior, has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy rains Unending Love, Amazing Grace.  (2x)

The Earth could soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; But God, Who called me here below Will be forever mine. Will be forever mine. You are forever mine.

Songwriters: John Newton / Stan Roto Walker / David Pritchard-blunt /Chris Tomlin / Louie Giglio © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
CCLI # 360938/20167508

Prayers for God’s Protection, Provision, and Guidance

[Spend a season in prayer as a group. Pray as the Spirit leads and/or use the provided prayer guide:]

This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” ~ 1 John 5:14

Coming humbly and boldly, with confidence, pray:

  • Healing for the sick
  • Peace for those waiting as loved ones suffer
  • Comfort for those who have lost loved ones
  • Endurance and guidance for those laboring to save lives
  • Wisdom, discernment, and unity for leaders (government, medical, church)
  • Provision for those facing unemployment and financial loss
  • Protection for those at home where home isn’t a safe place
  • Relief for those struggling with anxiety, depression, and isolation
  • Encouragement for those trying to balance adjusted work and family needs

 

Offering

Our giving is an act of worship. It is a response to who God is and to God’s grace. Giving is a way that God invites us to participate in His work.  If you would like to give a tithe or offering today, you can do so by clicking: www.gracecovpca.org/resources/giving

 

Meditation on God’s Word

 Old Testament Lesson: from Habakkuk

[Have two people read these passages aloud, as a dialogue between God and the prophet Habakkuk. One person reading the verses where God speaks, another the verses where Habakkuk speaks. After the reading, have either one person, or several, pray for the Holy Spirit to speak through His Word and the message.]

Habakkuk   (Habakkuk 1.1-4)

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

God (Habakkuk 1:5)

“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”

Habakkuk (Habakkuk 2:1)

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the tower; I will look to see what God will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

God (Habakkuk 2:2-4)

“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous person will live by his faith.”

Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3: 1-2, 17-19)

Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. Though the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 

 

Message 

When Life Doesn’t Make Sense 

Rev. Camper Mundy, Associate Pastor

 Song of Dismissal    

Come Thou Fount

Come Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, Mount of God’s unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I’m come; and I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be! Let that grace now like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face; Clothed then in blood washed linen; How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace; Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, Take my ransomed soul away; Send thine angels now to carry Me to realms of endless day.

Lyrics: Robert Robertson (v. 1-3); Bradford J. Brown (v. 4)
Tune: Traditional Folk Tune
Public Domain

Benediction

 

***

NOTES:

 

Passage Next Week: 

 Matthew 28.5-10

 Worship Leaders Today

  • Piano/Guitar: Isaiah Day
  • Vocalist: Rachel Bartelmay
  • Message: Rev. Camper Mundy, Associate Pastor
  • Benediction: Rev. W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor
  • Sound/Tech: Tim Nargi
  • Video: Charley Bartelmay

 

Special Note on Supporting the Mission & Work

of Grace Covenant:

During these extraordinary times, the life and ministry of our church will continue – even when we are not able to meet corporately for worship.  We humbly but boldly ask the people of Grace Covenant to continue to give generously for the benefit of God’s kingdom here in Williamsburg and beyond.

You can make your gifts in two ways:

1) Online at www.gracecovpca.org/resources/giving

2) Sending your check to the church offices at 1677 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg VA  23185

If you would like to make a special gift to help those from our church and community who are in need during this crisis, please write “Mercy Ministries” on the memo line of your check or select that fund when making a gift online.

 

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Pastoral Note to Grace Covenant – April 1, 2020

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Grace Covenant family,

I want to express my thankfulness for you all!  We are now in our third week of social distancing, now under order rather than mere request of the Governor. During this time I have been tremendously encouraged as I hear of how you, the Grace Covenant community, have been reaching out to one another, and caring for one another.  Further, as a whole you have all been very gracious with your feedback regarding our remote worship experiences – receiving and responding to the services far better than they have been produced.

We are all mourning the passing of Connie Schaub earlier this week; and we continue to pray for Peter, and for Peter & Connie’s daughters. On the positive side, I am thankful  that, as of this morning, no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported by anyone connected with Grace Covenant, nor have we had report of anyone new being tested. So we give thanks to God for his mercy thus far.

I mentioned the Governor’s newest mandate, issued on Monday, that prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people until June 10.  While I am hopeful that this order will be amended or rescinded, until it is we should expect that we will not gather for worship before mid June.  We will continue to worship as households, perhaps altering some things, or experimenting with a few ideas, in the weeks following Easter. This order will also effect other ministry activities, such as our Maundy Thursday service, our May Congregational Prayer Dinner, and likely and most notably VBS.  We are still working on possible options regarding Maundy Thursday (which is next week), and we have a good idea for our prayer meeting on the National Day of Prayer. We’ll let you know more as those plans are finalized and/or the days approach.  As for VBS, please know Starr is evaluating the situation and considering some possible alternative dates. We’ll keep you posted.

As for the governor’s order, I know it has been received in different ways. I suspect most have no concern, as long as this is what is best to protect the population, and especially the most vulnerable, from infection. Others – and I have heard from some, both within and outside of Grace Covenant – who question whether the governor has the right to prohibit church services.  My take on it at this time is that the governor, who is the civil magistrate appointed by God over our state, has authority – and the responsibility – to do what is in the best interests to protect the citizens of the state. While the order significantly effects churches, it is not specifically aimed at churches, and so therefore should not be viewed as an expression of religious oppression or persecution.  Is the governor our ultimate authority? No. God is. However, while God has declared that we should not forsake coming together, he also has declared via the 6th Commandment the importance of preserving life. Our Shorter Catechism interpretation of the 6th Commandment “requires making every lawful effort to preserve ones own life and the lives of others.” (See WSC #68)  So unless otherwise informed, I expect that we will comply fully with the governor’s mandate. Of course, this is just my perspective, not necessarily that of the Session nor of any other individual Elder, so my view is subject to correction should the Session deem that faithfulness requires us to do otherwise. (NOTE: For those unfamiliar with Presbyterianism, the “Session” is the Council of Elders, or the collective voice of the Elders.)

So where does this leave us? I think the first priority has been to care for one another. You all have done this, and continue to do this; and we will continue to improve our care for one another as we are made aware of needs and/or any ways we have to date neglected.  Now, I believe, it is time to begin thinking about ways we can also serve our neighbors. Throughout history the Church, and individual Christians, have always stepped up to the plate whenever plague or crisis has threatened the masses. Many times those who have stepped up have done so at the risk, and even the expense, of their own lives. This is an extraordinary calling that God has historically raised up some to serve.  (I recently listened to a great podcast on this subject: Christians in Time of Plague.) The question for us, as a church and as individuals, is how can we love and serve our neighbors with the love of Christ?

What can we do to care for our neighbors?  What does the gospel compel us to do? Are we all called to extraordinary heroics and risk to our own lives? I do not believe so.

In fact, I believe the first way that most of us can serve our neighbors is by staying home. The present order for social distancing is designed for the good of all.  Staying home is acting to lawfully preserve your life, the lives of your family members, as well as the lives of our neighbors. You can love and serve your neighbors by your willingness to be bored!

A second way to love and serve your neighbors is to pray. Pray for the virus to be defeated. Pray for the health of your neighbors. Pray for the healthcare workers who are caring for our neighbors. Pray for the researchers who are looking for the antidote to this virus.  This is a way to serve your neighbors while social distancing. Another step in praying for your neighbor may be to reach out by phone or note, asking your neighbor how you can pray; offering help if there is need in their home. Another possibility, on nice days, when you want to get out for exercise while still social distancing, is to practice what is called “Prayer Walking”. As you walk by a home, pray for all those who live there, even if you don’t know their names. If you notice things like toys in the yard, pray for the family and the children. But praying is serving. And while praying for physical health, pray also for a movement of the Holy Spirit in the homes and the lives of your neighbors.

Finally, there is practical help. Some of this may involve various levels of risk. I urge each of you to be wise, and consider not only yourselves but your family, before engaging in what may be risky. There are those who are called. I would be unfaithful to God if I stood in the way of those who he may be calling. But I would also be unfaithful to God, and to you as your pastor, if I did not point out that sometimes we mistake our own ego, our own desire for glory, for God’s calling.  There is no shame in serving safely. It is what most are likely called to do. Nor is there any real glory in engaging in risky behavior, behavior that endangers your family or neighbor, if it is not God calling you to it.  That said, if among us there are some who feel compelled to serve more broadly, there are opportunities & community needs that we will make known in coming days. (There are some of our Grace Covenant family already serving the community in such ways.) My point, at this point, is not to mobilize, but to ask you to begin praying about how the Church as a whole, and how Grace Covenant in particular, might be God’s hands the serve a frightened and needy world.

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