My prayer for you is that you are maintaining your passion for Jesus, enjoying good health, enjoying time with family, listening to my weekly sermons, and that you are sending to Laurie your financial support to our church. We must keep up with our monthly financial obligations, notwithstanding no weekly meetings in the building for almost 5 months.
Undoubtedly, we are all feeling the effects of social isolation. Loneliness is painful and distressful and consequently, we do not choose or enjoy being lonely. The truth is that we are all getting tired of being bored and lonely at home. I know you miss our weekly gathering for Sunday worship, Bible study, and prayer meetings. I miss seeing your smiling faces and hearing your laughter. I do feel very sad when I learn about your illness and I am unable to visit you at the hospital or at home. All I can do is pray for you and/or call you. Part of my pastoral experience is simply to be there, to listen, and give comfort and words of encouragement. Given the aforementioned, let me share the following words of encourage-ment with you.
We are living in difficult and unchartered times, and we should practice the spiritual disciplines of daily prayers, study of the Scriptures and private devotions in order to stay present with God. We should not practice these disciplines out of a sense of duty, but out of a desire for an ongoing vibrant relationship with God. Failure to depend on the power of prayer and the daily enabling of the Holy Spirit, is an indication that we are depending on our own strength. When we depend on our own strength, we can get dried up, weary, and we easily become discouraged. In other words, any attempt to be a Christian on our own strength requires greater effort, and strength that we don’t have, and we get tired and want to give up. Satan would have a temporary victory to lead members of the church to a defeated life during this time.
We must be vigilant, especially living in this age of inactivity at our church. Vigilance is primarily keeping up with prayer, reading of the Scriptures, and practicing other spiritual disciplines. Vigilance is an awareness of being grounded fully in the truths of our faith. The Apostle Peter exhorts us: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Jesus knows ahead of time what the enemy is up to and He will keep us ahead of what the devil may be trying to do against us.
We have to be paying attention. We cannot afford to have our faith in God diminish for any reason. Let’s pray that during this difficult time of COVID-19, we reach that place in our spiritual journey, where we pray, read God’s Word, and do our daily private devotions, simply because we love our fellowship with Jesus. When was the last time you felt passionate about the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ? Let us pray for a deep passion to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with victorious living.
It would be remiss of me to end my message without saying something about reopening our church. This will be a complex undertaking. Please be patient with us! Some of you might be thinking that we should rebel against authority and return to Sunday morning worship services. I want to make the following point very clear: My weekly sermons are posted on our church website and YouTube, and hard copies are distributed to members who are not connected to the internet. We are holding off any meeting at church, particularly because we are concerned about our people with pre-existing conditions and those 65 years and older, who are at greater risk of contracting the virus. In the meantime, we will clean and disinfect the church, and stock masks and hand sanitizer for you.
Please pray for me, the moderator, deacons, trustees, other officers, choristers, and all members of our church family in general. We are one family in the Lord. Keep praying, keep studying the Scriptures, and keep up your daily private devotions! What a day of rejoicing it will be when we eventually return to church! My prayer is that while we wait, we become closer to the Lord, closer as a church family, and more passionate for the person and work of Jesus, our Lord.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God (Psalm 42:1).
In His Service,
Rev. Dr. Peter E. Grinion, Pastor