Pastoral Letter, 3/13/20

Dear church family,


In our effort to help each other during concerns about the spread of coronavirus, please note the following:


Sunday Worship Online
We are moving our Sunday worship service online for the next two weeks, 3/15 and 3/22. We are asking everyone to stay home and join us online. There will be a livestream of our service at 10am. (Sam, Jay, a musician, and myself will be in the church building to lead the service and broadcast it to your phones, computers, and tablets.) The worship guide will be available on our website (www.theincarnation.org) so you can follow along the livestreamed service. 


“Attend” Worship from Home
I strongly encourage you to “attend” worship on Sunday by staying home and joining us online. Sunday is the Lord’s Day. He claimed it as His own when he rose from the dead on that first Easter morning. We need to worship him, to acknowledge our sins to him, that we may obtain forgiveness. We need to give thanks to Him, to declare His praise, and to hear from His holy Word. And we need to ask for ourselves and on behalf of others those things which are necessary for our life and our salvation. Through the amazing gift of technology, we will be able to do this all together while also loving our neighbor in the most practical way possible at this point in time.


The Practical Side of Love
The most critical need our community has is to slow the rate of infection as much as possible. (Click here for more information.) This will save many lives, even if the same number of people eventually get sick. (Click here to read about why this is the case.) In short, deciding not to meet in person for worship is, in my opinion, the best gift of love and witness we can give to our community. Higher infection rates put the vulnerable at greater risk. If there is even a small chance that a disruption in our weekly rhythms might help those in need, or even save lives, then it is worth it. The most loving thing we can do right now is to pray, practice and encourage good hygiene, avoid large group gatherings, stay home as much as possible, and care for those who are most at risk.


Church Building
It is important that we keep the doors of the church open during times of crisis. There will be signs on our doors indicating the worship services have moved online. For anyone who does show up, we will ask them to maintain at least 10 feet of distance with everyone else, and not to touch one another. If someone has any signs of sickness we will ask them to go back to their home.


Faith Not Fear
Whether or not we meet in person for worship, we are called to live by faith and not fear. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. He is the God who conquered death, and in Him we have nothing to fear. Allowing God, rather than the 24-hour news cycle, to shape how we feel and think and act will enable us to remain calm, maintain perspective, and focus on the needs around us. In this way, let us make Christ the Lord of our hearts, being prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks for the reason for the hope that we have.


Love Your Neighbor
This is an extraordinary opportunity to love our neighbors. Please take time to think of anyone you know, inside our church or not, who might be lonely, isolated or vulnerable. Reach out to them, even with a short text for phone call, to check in. Also, reach out to the neighbors who live right around you, and simply ask if they need anything. This is a great excuse to get to know our neighbors better, and to serve them if we can.


Grace and peace,

Pastor Aubrey