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Coronavirus and its Disruption of the “Normal”.

March 18, 2020, 1:20 PM

Here are three reflections on the Coronavirus and its disruption of our normal “routine.”

1. We have reason to be thankful. One of my thoughts has been I can’t wait until things go back to normal. If you are like me though you probably did not appreciate “normal” a few weeks ago. I had my own list of frustrations and things I wished were different, but now going back to normal seems like it would be a great blessing! So the sad truth is we often don’t realize the great blessings we have right in front of us. We don’t know how good we have it until something changes. So it made me wish I was more thankful for what was just normal when I had it. 1 Thess 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” But honestly, what we are experiencing in disruption is mild compared to what others are going through, so let’s continue to literally count our blessings and practice being thankful now.

2. Being able to gather is a blessing and a gift. When I was at the church working today I saw a stack of unused and unfolded bulletins. It is a sad reminder that we weren’t able to gather as a church family this weekend. Tim Beougher, a former professor of mine shared this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian believers is a gift of grace, a gift of the kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God's grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian believers.” This quote is a timely reminder that our church gatherings, imperfections and all, are a gift of God’s grace. My hope and prayer is that the absence of our normal gatherings for a time will stir our hearts to be reminded of the blessing it really is to gather and worship with our church family. I pray that when we get to return we can approach corporate worship with greater thankfulness and enthusiasm, and that we would not take our church service for granted. We won’t go through the motions but we can worship God in spirit and truth. I am also hoping that one of the ways God works all things together for good in the Coronavirus pandemic is that we won’t take this particular blessing for granted and that God might even use it to revitalize His church.

3. I am a sinner and I still need grace. This social distancing just started, but it already feels like it has been going on forever. I can be honest and confess the disruption has put me on edge in various moments and I’ve had to apologize to my family for being too cranky and short with them. But do you remember what we were talking about in our series in James? We talked about how James’s congregation was behaving badly because they were suffering, they were experiencing trials of various kinds (James 1:2). We reflected how trials have a tendency to make us act out. So be aware of that in yourself, so you can check yourself, and in others, so you can offer grace and understanding. But we are creatures of habit and there is a lot of uncertainty and sometimes that does not always bring out the best in us. So we’ll have reminders that we are still sinners. (1 John 1:8). Charles Spurgeon said, “I have a great need for Christ: I have a great Christ for my need.” Now is a good time to think of the good news of the gospel, Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We deserve separation from God, which ultimately is what death is. But the good news is God did not practice any social distancing with us. He sent Jesus to die on a cross so that if we trust in Christ instead of separation from God we could have life because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins so we could be forgiven, have his righteousness, eternal life, and have access to God. Again, we can’t get away from the beauty of John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” May this be a time where we say, thanks be to God for not practicing social distancing with us! And may we be ready to share that with others!

Feel free to comment below with some of your own reflections or thoughts.

Thanks,

Pastor John



Comments

03-19-2020 at 10:43 AM
John
LOL I love that you are Carolyn # 3! Thanks for reading the blog! Glad I can give you something to be happy about. Also, glad I'm in good company with being cranky.
03-19-2020 at 9:06 AM
Carolyn #3
Thanks for posting this Pastor!! Good thoughts and I must admit I was being a bit cranky myself at being sequestered so you gave me something new to be happy about!! THANKS!
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