Covid and the Church
by Dee Dowdy
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I know that the recent uptick in the Covid cases in our area and state has everyone feeling uneasy. While I do not think that we, as Christians, are called to live in fear we are to be “wise as serpents and gentle as lambs.” Therefore, if you have not had your vaccines or had extra health issues that make you very susceptible to sickness, I totally understand as you why you are electing to not attend while we are experiencing this “uptick.” But I encourage you to please return to in-person worship as soon as you can for we need each other and when you are out, you are missed!
Furthermore, let’s all be aware that this very well may be our new normal as we may be living with the threat of covid for years to come. I even read something this week that said, “Normal is not coming back, Jesus is!” Thus, we need to ask ourselves, how do we balance staying safe while also living our lives under God’s grace?
As you may recall, our online services were originally developed as an outreach ministry to the unchurched, and to those who, because of health issues simply could not attend. And thanks be to God, we had this new capability when the pandemic began which enabled many of you to be able to worship! But this ministry was never intended to become something that would take the place of in-person worship for those who could attend. Nor, was it developed to support what some are calling “Convenient Christianity” that is displayed by a lack of commitment and “pajama worship.”
In Hebrews 10:25, we read, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” Worshipping together helps to lift one another up. Corporate worship helps us stay connected to one another. It acts as a deterrent to spiritual discouragement and can help to lift our spirits when we are down. Also, the evil one loves it when we stay away from church because alone, we will begin to cool off spiritually. And before you know it, missing church is our routine rather than the exception and yet we will wonder why we feel so distanced from God. And more importantly, God is pleased when we gather for worship for it shows Him our appreciation for all He has done for us!
So, if you have been on vacation around other people in an enclosed place, been to a restaurant, family reunions, or just hung out with other folks, let me encourage you to come back to “in-person” worship! As you know, our church invested heavily in keeping you safe by installing ionization to greatly reduce the spread of airborne disease. So, you would be safer in our church than most any other place you go where people gather in any way.
Also, while my recent call to encourage everyone to wear masks and be careful about being socially distanced was meant to remind us to be cautious, I certainly did not mean to scare anyone away from worship. And while I was strongly urging the wearing of masks, it is not a mandate. Nor, by what I communicated was I wanted to make it seem that corporate worship wasn’t important.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who, even though they have had to make the decision to go back to online worship, have continued to mail their tithes into the church. While we may not be able to do the full ministries we were doing before the pandemic hit, the church does continue to function and minister. So, your faithfulness is much appreciated!
I hope each of you heard this letter as a letter of concern and not being “preachy” or negative. I just long for the day that we can be together again. And I also take heart for I know our Redeemer lives!
With love, concern and encouragement!
January 12, 2021