“The thwarting of strategy is an invitation for God to do a deeper work of character.”
Given that local relationships will drive much of the local response, the following examples help address a couple of immediate needs faced by clergy and congregational members: church Coronavirus communication and communicating with vulnerable populations with proactive hospitality.
It may seem counter-intuitive to consider church history in any discussion of outbreak, pandemic, or plague; we live in an era of hazmat suits, microbiology, and gallons of gelatinous hand sanitizer. But while our approach to disease containment and pathology is far different than you would find in rural Germany in the 1500’s, there is profound wisdom and perspective in reflecting on the posture of faith communities in our past.
According to John’s Gospel, the first miracle Jesus performs in his public ministry is to turn water into wine at a wedding. John’s Gospel calls the miracles “signs” because through them we see the glory of God. This sign meant seeing God’s glory at a feast – a wedding banquet.
The folks at Waffle House have a whole system for keeping restaurants open in a storm. They know how to do natural disasters. We need to be a “Waffle House church,” first offering people the body and blood of Jesus Christ, then offering a full menu of the faith even in the midst the storm.
These habits will help form a posture of communicating – of living – with gracious conviction. Most of them rely on humility in action; they show and shape perspective at the same time. They are habits learned as we follow Jesus around as his apprentices. They don’t always come easily; as we learn, we still fall short. But this is the Jesus way. We can’t do less – and by God’s grace, it will become easier.
The Psalmist says that a person who builds his or her life on the Word of God is like a tree planted by streams of water, which basically means that their lives are deeply rooted and healthy. Their lives are nourished, marked by lasting stability and fruitfulness.
Chaotic change is an uninvited guest. Like an unplanned extra person at an already too-small table, everything seems forced. Decisions have to be made before their time. People have to make room, take on new roles, or change habits even while leading.
When you make resolutions about your life , remember: you are your brother’s keeper; you are your sister’s keeper. You’re a watchman. And where God has placed you, God has placed you on purpose. Watchmen stand in the middle to communicate, to see, to defend. An intercessor stands in the middle on behalf of somebody else.
We don’t seem to know how to choose love rather than reaction. Forgiveness is the very rhythm of redemption – our redemption and the redemption of all our relationships.