Greetings again dear friends,
In May 2020, Pastor Jim, Luke, and I spent the better part of three weeks articulating and clarifying what the Colonel called our "decision-making matrix". In it, we tried to outline a series of phases, and decide which things need to occur in which order as we began, and then continued, the process of returning to "normal" [as if things will ever return completely]. We all agreed, and the Deacons agreed, that the last thing to return to normal would be the presence of a Choir in our corporate worship. The nature of projecting vocal air broadly, in close quarters with other people, would have been the highest-risk thing we could do just a few months ago.
I am so thankful for the grace of God in our church over the past year. Though [according to my last count] over 30 of us contracted the corona virus in the past fifteen months, we have been blessed with no spread across our church family. I would like to thank all of you that were willing to bear with the measures our leaders put in place, even when you thought they might have been too stringent. Because of these measures, our church did not experience a viral out-break, and by Easter, over 85% of us were comfortable gathering together in-person once again! Our measured, patient responses have worked to keep us safe, but even more importantly, they have served to maintain humble unity across our church body. In April, SONquest returned to weekly children's church services. In May, we returned to Wednesday evening activities, and in June our Sunday School classes returned. In the past six weeks, we also amended our face covering policy from "expected" to "respected". More and more of you are comfortable sitting close together, shaking hands, and even hugging. In all of these things, I am so thankful that God has kept us safe, and that He has protected us from factions and divisions.
I am so glad that "F.B.C. in July" this year allows us the opportunity to celebrate a return to a sense of normalcy. In the past, "F.B.C. in July" has been about taking a break from some events, allowing us to "do" less church and freeing us up to better "be" the church! This year, we can return to full slate of events, and in doing so, we want to encourage more and more people to join with us in "being the church" together! If you, or someone in your family, has been less than fully engaged in our church over recent months, let me encourage you to get back into the habit of joining us on Sundays. Join me engaging those we haven't seen lately, and encouraging them to take part in our sweet fellowship. Consider inviting your "One" or another neighbor to worship with us.
July will mark the return of our monthly Prayer Meeting and the Choir will begin practicing. I do not believe you'll see the Choir right away on Sunday morning, because it may take a couple of practices to get us ready again, but trust me, it'll come. There are few things in my life that warm my heart the way my heart is warmed on Wednesdays at 8:00, when we don't have to perform, but can simply lift our voices together to praise the name of Jesus! If you haven't been part of the Choir before, or haven't been in a long time, please consider joining us! You don't have to audition; you don't have to read music; you don't have to be particularly adept at singing harmony parts; you do have to love the Lord Jesus and want to praise Him with your voice!
Now that we are in summer, let's raise the spiritual temperature of our hearts. I humbly challenge you to A) dedicate 10 new minutes per day and spend time in prayer; B) seek out one person with whom to have a conversation about spiritual things this month; C) hold a time of worship, including a song and bible study, with your spouse and/or children one time per week. Pick one of these things and commit to raising the spiritual temperature across your home and family. If we all do this, our church will be used by God to raise the overall spiritual temperature of our town! As we charge ahead with a calendar of events - including students' and children's ministries - if we have a renewed fervor toward biblical faithfulness, then our "doing" church will have a broader and deeper impact across Walnut Cove.
Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dewlt secure;
sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.
A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds