By Pastor Charles Lee
Whenever we face trials of life, we are given an opportunity to reflect about our life of faith. Here is my pastoral reflection on the COVID-19 and words of encouragement from four angles: theological, pastoral, communal and practical.
1. Theological: I want us to be grounded in thick theological truths in all life circumstances. One key theological truth that should ground us, especially in trying seasons, is God’s sovereignty, that God rules and reigns supremely and absolutely. There is nothing in this universe that is outside of his rule. Everything—including diseases, disasters, devil and death—is under God’s control. Nothing surpasses God or surprises God. Our God reigns! And he reigns with power, wisdom and grace. His sovereign grace is most evident in Christ whose death brought life for us. Hear this truth from Lamentations 3:37-38: “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” Let those verses sink deep into your heart. Put your trust in God who rules over every particle of your life and all the plagues in the world. And you will have peace as you put your trust in God who reigns. “You [God] keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
2. Pastoral: I want us to live out of deep trust in God and his promises rather than be fickle and be driven by fear or panic. I see the pandemic of fear and panic—more than the epidemic of the coronavirus—looming large over many people. I want us to counter the panic and fear with prayers of faith. We want to be careful, but not fearful. We want to be driven by faith and not fear. If fear is creeping into your heart, then push that fear out by clinging to God’s promise that He is with us in all circumstances: “I will be with you in trouble” (Psalm 91:15). Be careful, yes. But be courageous in God.
3. Communal: I want us to be sympathetic to people who are suffering from COVID-19. We are to be compassionate, “bearing one another’s burden, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2). We at New Hope are especially mindful of our Korean Ministry (KM) members who are being extra-cautious, because of closer ties and more frequent contacts with Korea, which has had a surge of COVID-19 in recent weeks. Although no member of our church is infected by the virus, many of them have been impacted emotionally by the outbreak of COVID-19 in Korea. As a church we want to stand in solidarity with our KM counterpart, as many of them are burdened and even heartbroken by the situation in Korea. Our pastoral team have chosen not to serve Sunday snacks, not only for the sake of precautionary measures against the spread of the virus, but also for the sake of standing in solidarity with KM that is being extra-cautious and has chosen to forego Sunday snacks for the next couple of weeks in order to pray and seek God’s mercy.
4. Practical: I want us to be wise and responsible. We want to be fearless, but not reckless. We want to live out of faith, but faith does not entail foolishness. We are to use common sense and take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of any sickness: Wash your hands; use hand sanitizers; cover your coughs. If you are sick, please consider staying home. Be wise about close contact with people who are sick. Show your love with a fist or elbow bump (instead of handshakes). Don’t withdraw in fear but engage others in love. And let’s pray. Let’s pray for the people who are sick, weak and lost. And please pray for God’s wisdom for the leaders who are doing their best to discern and take appropriate steps in the coming weeks for our church.
Written by Pastor Charles Lee
This week’s bible reading schedule:
|☐||Sun: Exodus 19, Luke 22||☐||Thu: Exodus 23, John 2|
|☐||Mon: Exodus20, Luke 23||☐||Fri: Exodus 24, John 3|
|☐||Tue: Exodus 21, Luke 24||☐||Sat: Exodus 25, John 4|
|☐||Wed: Exodus 22, John 1||☐||Sun: Exodus 26, John 5|