by Abraham Cremeens
I recently ran across a gem from Scripture in Isaiah 37. King Hezekiah found himself and the nation of Judah under siege by Assyria. A key element was the opportunity for trust on Hezekiah’s part even when trust was hard. He passed the test, though, as he chose prayerful dependence in the midst of a crisis.
God’s promise in that event was priceless…
"And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward." (Isaiah 37:31 ESV)
It had both physical and spiritual tones to it. Judah would experience physical fruit from the land but also a spiritually rich season as they continued to trust in the LORD.
It struck me that while our circumstances are quite different from Judah’s, they are also very similar. Like them, we are ready for a difficult season to come to a close with lots of good to look forward to.
I have made a concerted effort throughout this pandemic season never to say, “When we get back to…” because it suggests this was a stalling period – a blip on the map of our travels in life. But to make our only goal to “get back” to something suggests a “good old days” mindset that misses the point. God has been moving us forward all along and we, too, can look forward to deeper roots and growing fruit such as was promised in Isaiah 37.
On May 31, we are not "going back to" anything, but we are moving forward in God’s good work as we enter Stage 3 of our five-stage plan. I want to take some time to review our plan forward with you as you consider how to participate each step of the way. Be sure to visit ksbc.net/covid19 for the full scoop if you haven’t already.
While being the church is much more than only Sunday morning, Stage 3 offers the exciting opportunity to worship together on-site on May 31 for those who choose to do so. We will temporarily offer two options, one at 9:00a and another at 11:00a. Since we are limiting the auditorium to 100 people for each gathering, it would help us greatly if you would sign up here as we plan for that event. Beginning May 31, we will offer live streaming at 11:00a. You are welcome and encouraged to continue to worship at home if you are more comfortable with that option.
While we cannot guarantee a perfectly sanitary building we will do all that we can to serve you as best as we can. Here are a few steps we are taking to limit contact and keep surfaces clean:
- We have removed donuts and coffee, so be sure to bring your own tasty brew.
- Our Welcome Team will wave rather than shake your hand, and we will prop as many doors as we can.
- We have placed three blue offering boxes in or near the auditorium for your giving rather than passing offering plates. You may also choose to give online or through the Church Center App (download here).
- When we next celebrate the Lord’s Table, the bread and cup will be pre-packaged.
- We have marked seating so that you and your families can worship comfortably with social distancing in mind. (There will be no nursery or children’s ministry during Stage 3.)
- We will clean the facility in-between the two worship gatherings. Please consider signing up here to volunteer if you would like to be a part of the cleaning team.
- All staff and volunteers will be wearing face masks.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another…” (John 13:34). Each of us has a different opinion on COVID-19 and what an appropriate response is. Love surpasses opinions and preferences and, in that sense, May 31 primarily marks another opportunity in your Christian life to love God and love people. Here are some practical ways to love one another in this season:
- Refrain from shaking hands, and work to maintain six feet of social distancing at all times.
- Take any post-gathering conversations (which we encourage!) out into the parking lot.
- Wear a face mask. Recent credible studies, such as this one, show that singing contributes to the spread of this virus. Wearing a mask is a simple but powerful act of love toward others. Parents may use their own discretion regarding face masks for their young children.
There are plenty of unknowns in this season ahead – except where the promises of God are involved. In light of Isaiah 37:31, we can expect deeper roots and growing fruit as we trust God through it all. Great opportunities are ahead.
Kossuth, I’ve been so proud of you during this season. Let’s continue to look forward together by God’s grace. Be the church as you love God, love people, reach out, and pray much.
God bless you, Kossuth.