Coronavirus Update 03.17.20
Dear Cornerstone family,
This timeframe we are experiencing is unique to us. Of course, it is not surprising to our Heavenly Father, for He knows and rules over all things (Rev. 1:8; Psalm 139:1-6; 145:13). We have been prepared for this type of thing by our reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of God. We know that this life is filled with adversity, and that is not a bad thing (Rom. 8:18, 28-30; 2 Cor. 4:16-18). It is opportunities like this that demonstrate the genuineness of our faith (1 Pet. 1:6-7).
While we have been prepared theologically for this circumstance, most of us have not experienced this type of pandemic. None of us have seen anything close to this type of societal response to a disease. So, we are in uncharted territory. We are receiving guidance from the CDC and from our federal and local government. Some may think it is all ridiculous, and some may ignore the threat. We believe it is a mistake to ignore the state’s guidance in these matters. While we are completely confident in God’s sovereign care over us, we also understand that God’s people are not immune to disease. The guidance we are receiving is not simply about our own personal protection, but the protection of the general population, and specifically those who are most vulnerable (according to the CDC, those with heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and older adults).
The types of responses we see among the Christian community are very interesting. There are those who are ignoring guidance, saying it is a conspiracy. Others are ignoring it, declaring that the government is overstepping its bounds. Others are panicked. There are those who declare this is separating the sheep from the goats. It is not necessary for us to think this way. Over the course of time, churches have wisely attempted to protect their members and their communities by canceling worship services due to snowstorms, tornados, and hurricanes. The church is called to worship God, to demonstrate the character of God, and to love people (among other vital purposes). It is terribly difficult for pastors and elders to say, “No church in our building.” One of our responsibilities as pastors and elders is leading people to worship God, both publicly and privately. Public meetings are canceled out of love for others, not convenience or capitulation to authority. We care about the well-being of our congregation and the well-being of our neighbors. Therefore, we have and will continue to sacrifice what is our normal rhythm of church. We are seeking to reach out to those in our care to ensure they are well cared for. We will facilitate worship the best we can through online streaming, and personal discipleship.
It is essential to note the demands of Scripture regarding the role of governing authorities. In Romans 13, a clear declaration is made of the government’s role seeking our good (Rom. 13:4). Let’s be clear, the government is not persecuting the church, as some governments in other locations and ages have. Rather, they are asking us not to meet for the physical good of the entire community. In this spirit, we will obey God by obeying our governing authorities; we will love our God by our obedience; and we will love our neighbor by doing our part to arrest the spread of disease.
So that there is no lack of clarity, all of our scheduled gatherings are postponed until we are confident that it is appropriate to meet as a group again. Please keep looking at our website, emails distributed, Facebook posts, and other forms of communication to be aware of opportunities to worship in an online format. Should you have any need arise, let us know and we will do our best to help. In the meantime, do your part by following the guidelines being presented. You and I are not the exception to the rule.
The Lord will sustain us as only He can. We will rejoice in His great care for us. Join me for a special Bible study and prayer time Wednesday night at 7:00 on any one of our streaming services. I will plan to have the Facebook stream open on a computer nearby to take in your prayer requests and questions.
Rejoicing in our always present, caring, wise God,
Pastor Rob on behalf of the Elders