October 25, 2020
Amidst pandemic, economic turmoil and social unrest, we find ourselves in a prolonged season of stress and uncertainty. How are we to respond? Our inclination is to hunker down, care for our loved ones and wait out the storm. Our calling is different. In times like this Christ calls his Church not to back off or slow down but to lean in and step up. He invites us to join in his work of redemption with passion and creativity in spite of the challenges.
I wish I had written these words! I read them on the website of Holy Trinity Raleigh (take a look: htcraleigh.org/lisu/), and was encouraged—and challenged. What does it look like for Immanuel to “lean in and step up”? Four ways come to mind for me:
Continue Praying: One of the primary points of discernment from our five weeks of prayerwalking is that we are to continue praying for our neighbors and neighborhoods. I’ll be offering specific ways of doing this in the near future. Additionally, I encourage you to pursue your own “practice of the presence of God”—what ways of praying keep you open to receive the grace the Father is pouring into your life? And pray for the people and leadership of Immanuel as well!
Continue Connecting: Even with the opportunity we now have to gather in person on Sunday mornings, many of us feel lonely and disconnected. My dad often reminds me that every feeling has a gift, and the gift of loneliness is the nudge to reach out. Don’t wait for others to initiate! Make a phone call. Invite someone for a walk. Host a gathering on your porch. Meet another family at the park. Attend the Zoom gatherings and Bible Studies. In particular, if there is someone you haven’t seen or heard from in a while, receive that as a nudge from the Spirit to get in touch with that person. And if someone reaches out to you, welcome that one!
Continue Giving: Faithful generosity is one of the beautiful characteristics of our church family. In the early days of the pandemic, clergy were warned that giving would drop drastically. That has not been the case with Immanuel. Each month our treasurer, Tyra, reports that giving remains strong. Thank you! Please continue expressing your love and commitment in this way. Also, ask the Lord how he is inviting you to give of your time and talent as well. We need volunteers in a number of areas.
Continue Listening: Join us in continuing to discern how we are to “join in [Christ’s] work of redemption with passion and creativity” in Prince William County, even in the midst of COVID and other challenges. How might we engage our neighbors and communities in ways that draw them into relationship with us, and with Jesus?
As I connect with you in the days to come – I’ll be visiting Bible Studies, making phone calls, and attending other gatherings – I look forward to hearing ways in which you think Immanuel can “lean in and step up” as we walk together into God’s future.
Your Pastor in Christ,