COVID-19 has placed restrictions on churches everywhere. I am delighted (and a little jealous, I’ll admit) to read about how certain churches are responding to them. It is wonderful to surmount such a challenge and use it to further the kingdom of God. God has never let a bad situation go to waste: the murderous intentions of Joseph’s brothers led to the saving of many lives; the taking of Bathsheba led to the enthronement of Solomon and the golden age for Israel; the murder of the Messiah led to Resurrection triumph.
We as well are trying to turn the restrictions of COVID-19 into opportunity. But we have three significant issues to confront that may not be shared by other churches:
- A significant part of our community is technologically unconnected. For many, computers are an entirely different world. Some can manage if given a device and a lot of coaching, but with the lockdown preventing communication in person, this is very difficult.
- For many of our people, membership in the church of Jesus Christ is a relatively new experience. My family’s Christian heritage reaches back to the 1870s, and possibly hundreds of years before that. That’s a long tradition and a great blessing for me. It keeps me connected to the church when things get rough. But few Streetlight folk can fall back on such a tradition. I pray that God holds people near the cross until their worshiping community resumes soon.
- Most of our members are single people. Some have been in isolation since the beginning of the lockdown. The lack of community is heartbreaking and possibly injuring their wellbeing.
Despite this, I believe that God is doing good in our land, churches and at Streetlight. This is a position of faith, not sight. I see some good things happening in our community (people wanting to give to the church, people longing for return of worship, people reaching out in fellowship, for example). We don’t know how things will work out but faith compels us to:
- Respond with consistent pastoral care and Christian love.
- Creatively overcome barriers that have risen between Streetlight and its contacts.
- Pray that God would hold people in His grace when we fail them – whether by negligence or limitations. We will see this through and be blessed. It has always been God’s way.
By Pastor Paul Aasman