MIDWEEK MESSAGE 12
Good midweek to all of you! I hope this finds you doing well and coming out from under the cloud you may have found yourself under the past few months. It is good to see things finally opening up and life returning to a (somewhat) normal state. I think it is a sure thing that life will never return to the way it once was pre-Covid. They are calling it a new normal. I know some don’t like that term but it is fact. The important thing is how we will adjust to that new normal-as individuals, as a community, as a country, and as a church. I am an interested onlooker for all of those, but particularly the latter. I believe it is a foregone conclusion that church will never be the same. And I’m okay with that since it means change and innovation.
Speaking of change! It has been great seeing people here. When we decided to slowly open up I had no clue what to expect. Would we have a lot of folks here? Would we have very few here? Would we stay with two services or be able to consolidate into one? Would people feel comfortable coming? Would they wear masks or want to hug and dive right in. 🙂 How would people adjust to the change in seating and the way we do the bulletins and communion? How would parents handle not having the youth area open? Lots of questions that led to some introspection. I mentioned in a past Midweek Message that I was cautiously optimistic. That appears to have been the right approach. You guys have been super! Those who have come have, for the most part, observed our plan. Many of you are still watching online and you have no clue how grateful I am for that.
So…there is something you can plan for. According to Governor Holcomb’s suggestions, and providing things don’t go south, July 5th is supposed to be “opening day.” However, we are going to err on the side of caution and continue to observe our current plan until July 19. And here is the big news!!! On July 19th, we will be meeting at Abram Farm for one big church service and a pitch in to follow. We plan to set up tables instead of chairs for the worship time and then bring out the food afterwards. We will start at 10:00 and have a wonderful time of worship together as ONE. Beginning July 26th we will be back to “normal” at our building, except for the youth worship. Ryan is working on a starting date for that part. He will let you parents know more after he meets with the teachers again. May I ask you to do something? Please pray for all that we need to decide. Please pray for our Grand Opening on the 19th. Oh, and by the way, we can set up Saturday at the Farm. That is even better! So, expect an appeal for help. 🙂
To those of you who are still watching: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I realize some are still hesitant about coming back just yet. And that’s okay. We want you to feel comfortable and safe when you do. One of the podcasts I listened to said many pastors will be disappointed because they think there will be a great influx of people wanting to return and it will go back to what it once was. He said it would be more like a trickle. Since I had no clue what to expect, I wanted to err on the side of “trickle.” The first week brought 87 and the second 94 with some different folks each time. Both services were about equally attended. But I’m just so appreciative of you who still take the time to watch and let us know you are watching. I consider it a win-win if we can meet your need to worship and still feel you are a part of OVCF.
The next two Sundays my sermons will be from Isaiah 40. The first, Shelter in the Time of Storm, is from verses 1-17. The second, Strength for Weary Days, is from verses 28-31. I believe this OT chapter is so relevant to our day and time. We are both bombarded and tired from the Covid attack and from the violence caused by an unnecessary killing. I have stopped even watching the news. (I sure have gotten a lot of reading done) 🙂 God’s Word speaks to how we react to the news around us. Isaiah tells us how we can cope when we feel bombarded and the storm clouds seem to gather and then unload on us. He also tells us how to keep on going when our feet feel like lead and we want to give up. I am so excited about these two sermons and honestly feel lives will be changed by God’s Word. Not my words; His words. I could never compete nor find the words to express how eloquently and clearly Isaiah does.
As usual I have gone on long enough. Please don’t say “too long.” My fragile ego couldn’t take that. 🙂 Anyway, all kidding aside: have a great rest of the week. I look forward to seeing you soon. Love you all.