Church, Current Events, Great Cloud of Witnesses, The Word

The Right Answer

One of my former pastors–who helped ordain me to the position in which I currently serve, a year ago this week–posted this graphic this morning:

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Despite what you might think based on social media (which we all know is so truthful and representative) the last thing the majority of pastors here want is harm to come to their congregations and neighborhoods in any form, including but not limited to the contagion of COVID-19.

Pastors (and I’m sure you’re doing this already, but I need the reminder just as much), let’s get with Jesus on this. Let’s tell Him what we think and then listen to what He and the Father want each of us to do in our specific location and congregation.

Everyone else, we have already heard all the points. Please get with Jesus on our behalf and pray that He gives us clarity borne of His love.

Or, as my wise husband summarized the above even further:

“1 Kings 19:12”

StillSmallVoice

The only right answer to this is to love God and love people. To love God enough to translate His love to the people for whom we’re responsible. What that looks like for any given congregation may not be the same as for another. There’s a whole lot of earthquake/burning-down going on right now. But somewhere in all of this is a still small voice Who may give a way forward we never even thought of.

9 thoughts on “The Right Answer”

  1. Man, I don’t envy you pastorly types at all. This is a brutal call to have to make; there is no way everybody is going to be happy. The things that come up for me is what this looks to those outside the church. On a rational level I am aware that there should be other considerations. And that there has to be other considerations. But when people err on the side of opening early, there are two things we Christians always say that I think ring a little bit hollow. The first is that over and over again, we stress how the church is not a building. But then, when somebody shuts down our building, we suddenly forget our claims to the contrary and it’s as though somebody has shut down Jesus himself. The second thing that rings hollow is our claims about being one body. We tell the world our community is one, but as soon as we can’t meet physically we act as if that’s going to crush the whole thing.

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    1. I feel this, and that was definitely the spirit in which I advocated for shutting down even before it was state law to do so. I think I would like to offer up to you, though, that there might be other reasons a pastor and/or congregation might reopen that are not about fear or rights removal or some sort of idolatrous attachment to a building. I think social media ALWAYS will force either/or scenarios (and shaming on each side of the “slash”) that don’t always reflect any individual person’s or organization’s a) reality or b) thought process/relationship with God/reasons.

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  2. Why Jenn, are you suggesting that the universe doesn’t actually need me to pontificate around what I think the answer is? That maybe you and the creator of the universe can work out an issue where I haven’t stated my opinion?!?! Pshaw! I say. And actually, I don’t even know what that word means. Or if even is a word. 🙂 I totally get the possibility that there’s other considerations and will be praying for clarity for you and other pastors. But if you ever need pontification, you know where to find me.

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  3. I respect your stance, Jenn! It is never easy to be in a position where you “must” make decisions that affect other people. At the same time, it’s not as though you are forcing people to do something against their conscious. We are judged both individually and corporately. You may have opened the doors, yet (as I see it) you also carefully communicated that people are welcome to come and adhere to protocol, or (if they know that their situation makes being there in person unwise), you will continue to be there virtually. I feel that you sustain an excellent tension of respect and protection, which I think is fabulous!

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