MIDWEEK MESSAGE 9
As I begin to write this it is Monday morning. Wet, rainy. I could make a reference to an old Carpenter’s song: “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down” but that isn’t true for me. It makes me want to nap. 🙂 We had a beautiful weekend though. I had to go by the park several times and the line to enter was backed up all the way to the highway. I saw people go past and pull a U-Turn to get in line. I also saw those who pulled in and just waited their turn. Crazy! But this was the first “official” weekend people were allowed to get out so it was to be expected.
Only two more weeks before we reopen the church building! I am so excited to see people, even though I know some (many) will stay away for now. That’s okay. We will continue both in service and online services into the future. That was one of the main questions folks had in our survey when we asked about coming to the church building or online. Some took it to mean we were choosing and would stop doing online. The answer to that is simple: Nope. We will be doing both and have no plans to stop either. I read blogs and listen to podcasts where they talk about reopening. Our figures don’t really vary much from national averages. The percentages may vary somewhat but most people feel the same way across the board.
- A low number of local cases.
- Social distancing and other precautions are taken.
- Local businesses open.
- Local restaurant seating areas or open.
But many nationwide said they would return only when all conditions are met (low cases, businesses open, restrictions lifted, vaccine available). And some 10% admitted they weren’t sure.
I can honestly and sincerely tell you we are not taking reopening without a lot of seriousness and with precautions in place. We even held off a week to give you more time to consider your options. (Besides, the 24th is Memorial Day weekend). We are making changes and pivoting so you can come and know you are safe. Please read again our Reopening Plans on the church website https://www.ovcf.org/ovcf_wp/2020/05/reopening-plan/ and familiarize yourself with the plan. And then please, please, please, honor it. It will be super hard for me because anyone who knows me knows I am an ultra-social person. But I will honor and respect your space because I want you to feel safe and comfortable here and around me. Keep the date in mind though and mark it down: May 31 at 9 and 10:45. The livestream will be on FB and YouTube during the 2nd service only.
You should get this Wednesday morning. I’d like to ask you to pray for Alexander Chambers who is having a heart cath today. Alexander is 3 years old and has been a trooper through several procedures already. Tomorrow, Thursday, a local man, Bobby Porter, a friend of someone in the church is having cancer surgery for Stage 4 cancer of his face. They expect the surgery to take about 8-9 hours with major reconstruction down the road. I mentioned several others this past Sunday who needed prayer. Please take a moment and say a prayer for these two and others you may know.
There is no question we live in an unprecedented time…in our lives. Just the other day I saw a commercial featuring a lady who was born during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1920. She is 100 years old! I’m guessing she has seen a lot!! 🙂 But that reminds me that even though this is our first rodeo on something of this magnitude, there are others who have gone through similar events. I know this is the first event of this magnitude I have been through as a pastor. I’ve seen economic downturns, 9/11, SARS, Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, and others. But nothing like this. And I’m guessing you haven’t either. It is easy to get overwhelmed during times like this. Allowed out/not allowed out. This business open/this one closed. This one wears a mask/this one doesn’t. Confusion is common. Fear is faltering but still a reality for some. I read Psalm 121 this morning during my morning Quiet Time. I’d like you to take a few minutes to read it (it is 8 verses). That psalm speaks to our situation in spades! It tells us where our help comes from. It tells us what we can know about the One who stands with us. And he tells us that God will NEVER leave us or forsake us. Hang onto that my friends!!
As I bring this to a close, I can’t emphasize enough two things. First, our all-out attempt to be ready for you on the 31st. We want you to be and feel safe. If we fail at that, I will be sorely disappointed. Second, please use your judgment on attending. If you are feeling sick, please stay home. If you are hesitant in any way, please don’t feel like you have to come. Just don’t make a habit of it. 🙂 You would expect a preacher to say that wouldn’t you? Then I didn’t disappoint you. But, in all seriousness, come when you feel safe and know you will be safe. Watch it online! I love you all and look forward to seeing you when the time is right.