Last week someone sent me a text stating, “The Coronavirus is omnipresent.” It can certainly seem that way, right? However, we know from Scripture that only God is omnipresent (everywhere) – as well as being aware of everything, and all-powerful. Further, He is glorious, gracious, and good. These are important truths to keep in mind because at times like these it can be easy turn in on ourselves – by dwelling on our fears and insecurities. And as a result, react to events and people – by blaming or hoarding. However, God has called us, at this time, and always, to remember who He is, who we are to Him (dearly loved children), and how we’re to respond to those around us because of Christ – that we’re to pray for, bless, and love them.
With that in mind, years ago, I was challenged with the question, “If you moved out of your neighborhood, would anyone miss you, or even know you were gone?” In our current crisis, a similar question I heard asked, with regard to our buildings closing, “Does anyone in our community miss our church, or care if we’re closed?” That’s hard to answer, on a lot of levels. Maybe a better question would be, how can we serve our community in practical ways that reflect God’s love at this time?
Recently, I’ve become aware of one way we can do this. The East County Food Bank is accepting monetary gifts, but even more than that they need groceries. They also wanted to emphasize that their greatest need is canned goods because their normal supplier is unable to deliver. That said, here are items they’re looking for: bean/rice dinners, brown sugar, cake mixes, canned broth, canned chicken, canned fruit, canned ravioli, canned soup, canned tuna, canned vegetables, cold cereal, cookies, crackers, garden produce, hamburger/tuna helper, hygiene items, jam, Jell-O, macaroni & cheese, microwave popcorn, pasta, peanut butter, powdered sugar, spaghetti sauce, and Top Ramen. If you would like to give any of these items you can drop them off at the church, by putting them inside the main church door, and we’ll deliver them for you. If you don’t have a key, you can or call me at 360-470-8406 and I’ll be right over. If you’d like to give financially you can mail your gift to the church, designating it as an offering for the food bank.
We’re in unfamiliar territory, but that doesn’t mean we can’t serve and worship – even in new and impactful ways. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, and the first Sunday of the month – on which we usually take communion. How are we going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper if we can’t gather physically? Answer: we’re going to bring communion to you. At some point between now and Sunday, one of the elders will bring you juice, crackers (or bread), and a short devotion that will help you prepare. On Sunday morning we will gather on ZOOM (instructions below). I’ll share a message from Mark 10:13-31, and then we’ll take communion, at home, together. If you’re unable to connect with us on ZOOM, a prerecorded audio version of the message, including communion, will be available at the church website.
So, here’s how ZOOM works. You download the ZOOM app from the app store on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. (All you need is a camera and speaker.) Next, I’ll email you an invitation detailing the time for our gathering. At 10:15 you can open your invitation, click on the link and you’ll be able to see and hear all those gathered. We’ll spend time visiting, catching up, and making sure people have time to get in – and then at 10:30 we’ll start the service. If you’re late, that’s ok – our lovely ZOOM administrator Corrine will admit you. Also, if you have any questions or problems, please don’t hesitate to text or call her – 360-470-8398.
These days are presenting us with new challenges, but also new opportunities to grow in faith as we serve one another and our neighbors. You’re in our thoughts and prayers. And, we look forward to seeing you soon. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Because of Christ,
Gunnar began serving as pastor at First Baptist Church, Elma in July 2012. He and his wife Corrine – and their three children Trinity, Eli, and Ian moved to Washington with a vision to help build a vibrant community of people who know the truth of God’s love for them in Christ, and express that love as they gather, and go out into the world. A veteran of youth, college, and young adult ministries for almost twenty years – Gunnar enjoys being in God’s Word, obsessing over sports, and spending time outdoors with his family.