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Pass it Around

During my sermon yesterday, I mentioned an article that I want to give you a link to today. The article is entitled “Christianity Has Been Handling Epidemics for 2000 Years.” I found it challenging. I want to be clear, as I’ve continually said I think we need to be wise and exercise caution. For me, this article challenged me to think about the way I am responding to those around me during this time. I believe this is a time where we demonstrate our faith to others.

Yesterday, I encouraged us to respond to others with love, kindness, understanding, and generosity; rather than anger, criticism, arrogance, and selfishness. How can we share Christ’s love with those who are hurting, afraid, and alone during this time. I encouraged us to respond to those with whom we disagree with understanding rather than immediate criticism. Be sure, people are watching to see how we respond.

To quote from Rodney Stark’s book, The Rise of Christianity: “When the New Testament was new, these were the norms of the Christian communities. Tertullian claimed: ‘It is our care of the helpless, our practice of loving kindness that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. “Only look,” they say, “look how they love one another!” (Apology 39, 1989 ed.)’” (p. 87).

So here’s what I’d like us all to think about the next couple of weeks: 1) What’s one way I can show kindness to someone else? How can I encourage someone else? 2) What’s a practical way that I can demonstrate love to someone else? Phone calls and messages that let people know we are thinking about them is one idea. 3) Who within our community is vulnerable and might have a need I could meet? This is an excellent time for us to think of way to check on our neighbors. 4) How can I practice generosity? This virus and the reaction to it is having an direct impact on people’s financial livelihoods. It’s a good time to think of ways that we can express generosity toward others.

As I’ve said, we want to be wise and cautious in trying to avoid the rapid spread of this virus, but at the same time I hope as followers of Christ we are looking for ways in this time that we can put our faith into practice.

Our gathering yesterday was smaller than normal. I’ll remind you, if you feel ill please stay at home. If you are in an especially vulnerable situation, we will miss you, but stay at home. Make sure you are washing your hands more frequently than normal. We are disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces more than normal. We are not shaking hands.

Pay attention to the E-gram and our prayer chain (if you aren’t on the prayer chain, send an email to Terri to be included), for updates. We are all dealing with a constantly-changing situation, so be sure to keep informed.

I love you all and I’m continuing to pray for you personally, for our congregation, for our community, for our country, and for the world. I hope you’ll join me in this.

God bless, Brian

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