A Letter to My Congregation
The office was eerily quiet today, and as I walked around the church, the weight of the situation sat heavy. The kitchen sat empty where once we would be cooking and preparing lunch for our partner school. The band room sat silently - no instruments out, no bandsmen or songsters milling about. And finally, the sanctuary - dark and quiet. As I stood at the pulpit, I looked over the empty pews and prayed. I prayed for my people, that they would be safe; that they would know peace in these days of uncertainty. I prayed for our nurses, who I know would be working overtime tending to the needs of the sick. I prayed for our seniors and the vulnerable: that God would put a hedge of protection around them. I prayed for those who are lonely.
I also prayed about what to do. Helplessness is one of the worst feelings a Pastor can have, I think. At least for me, it is. Imagine being a shepherd, with no sheep. Or more realistically, a shepherd whose sheep have been scattered! This feeling of helplessness is something that I hate - so I did what I could. I prayed….
… and God changed how I viewed my empty sanctuary. Yes, this is God’s house, but the church is not the building. The church is the people of God. And while it’s not ideal that God’s house be empty, the sheep that have been scattered now have the opportunity to be the church wherever they are!
So friends, take this opportunity to make a difference and let your light shine. Check in on your neighbours and make sure they are ok. Look through our church directory and call someone just to talk. See, we are not helpless in these moments. We can make a difference.
Hebrews 6:10-12 (NLT) says, “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.” That hits the nail on the head for how the church is supposed to act during days like these! So, let’s embrace it! Out of love for Christ and one another, seek to serve.
If you are alone, or particularly vulnerable, please reach out to us. We will do all we can as your church family to ensure you have what you need during days of self-isolation and social-distancing.
You may already be aware that The Salvation Army across the country has cancelled public worship on Sundays until at least April 30th. This is obviously a clear message that the threat of COVID-19 is legitimate and we take it seriously, and encourage you to do the same. If you are sick or feeling unwell, stay home.
We are working on ways to connect our church with existing resources provided by Territorial Headquarters to provide digital worship experiences. Additionally, we are revising our church website, exploring livestreaming options and developing new ways for Edmonton Temple to have a greater and more relevant online presence. More information will be coming soon concerning these things.
Until we meet together again as a worshipping congregation, may we all seek to honor the calling that God has bestowed on our lives as Christians, and may we seek to serve and support one another as best we can.
Be smart and safe. Pray for our church. Wash your hands.