Right now, in God’s providence, we have landed in a period of enforced isolation. We no longer enjoy the face to face contact with friends in different spheres of our lives – particularly in church. We miss meeting together as a body, shaking hands, hugging, singing together, taking the Lord’s Supper, and enjoying coffee and conversation in the fellowship hall. This period of isolation comes with its challenges. (This video from me has some additional encouragement about our mindset during the shutdown.) But here are some other encouragements to stay connected.
Most importantly, stay connected to God. During a period of isolation in David’s life, he said, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in,” Ps. 27:10. When normal connections get cut off, keep the lines of communication open with the Lord so that you receive his encouragement and instruction. Daily read Scripture and pray. On Sunday, tune into the streaming services and worship along the best you can. To hold worship in your living room may feel strange, but God can speak to you there as well as at the church building! He speaks to everyone who will listen, Matt. 11:15.
Stay connected to church members. As I encourage in the attached video, let’s not resign ourselves to isolation and loneliness while the shutdown lasts. We do not glorify God by merely hunkering down and waiting it out. He has providentially given us many technological resources to stay in touch with others. Send a couple emails or texts per day to encourage others in the church. Use Zoom for small groups, and generally get creative about ways to stay in touch. The church staff is brainstorming about this, but probably some of our best ideas will come from church members. But let’s all lean forward on the project of staying in touch. If we’re going to be shut down, let’s do it in a way that fits God’s values and brings him glory, 1 Cor. 10:31.
May the Lord help and encourage you through the unique challenges of this time. My prayers are with you. I miss you and hope to see you in person soon.
Pastor Dan Clifford