Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
The Apostle often began his New Testament letters with the greeting, “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” As I write this, those words are my prayer for you, for certainly we all need God’s grace in our souls and His peace in our hearts. With the many disruptions that have come to our lives these past few weeks, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead, we can be assured that God’s grace and peace are abundantly available to us, granting us hope, assurance, and confidence in the Lord’s love and care.
This week we have been informed of the government’s latest decisions regarding meetings and gatherings in light of the coronavirus. While churches were not named specifically in the announcement, it did say, “All public or private events are prohibited…” until April 19. Church meetings and worship services certainly fall under that category, so that means we will not be able to hold our worship services or other meetings until that time – unless the government should decide that conditions warrant a change.
While this certainly alters our manner of church life, we will still carry on. I will preach weekly sermons which will be available to listen to online. (My sermon from last Sunday “Security in Uncertain Times” from Psalm 27 has been posted.) If you have not done this before, simply go to our church website (ibcz.ch) and scroll down to recent sermons for the latest sermon, or sermon archive for older sermons. Also, please check our website (ibcz.ch) for further updates related to the virus and what it means for IBCZ.
Let me offer a couple suggestions for what else we can be doing during this unusual time. First of all, if you are now working from home, you may have more time on your hands – not because you are working less but you don’t need to spend time commuting. For many, that is easily an hour every day of extra time. And for all of us, we won’t be going to movies, concerts, skiing, etc. Try to put that time to good use – spending more time with family, or nurturing your spiritual life. You can spend more time in Bible reading, or maybe give concentrated time to digging deep into one book of the Bible, even making use of online resources to help with that. For over a year the church has made Right Now Media available, and they have many wonderful, free videos and resources available on line to encourage you as well as your family.
This can also be a time to serve others. Perhaps there is a neighbor or church member who is not able to get out to buy groceries, or needs transportation to a doctor’s appointment, etc., and you could help them in this way. You can simply call others to check in on them. Throughout its history, the church has been known for giving aid to others, especially during times of need and crisis. We can follow that tradition, and give an authentic witness for our Lord at the same time. (And if you need some kind of help at this time, please let me or one of our church members know. I know our Women’s Group has already offered to help in this way.)
Meanwhile, let’s be people of prayer. Let’s pray for all those who have contracted the disease, for those who have lost loved ones, for those affected financially or through the suspension or reduction in their work, and for those working on a cure or vaccine. And let us pray for one another and the church as a whole, that we will grow spiritually, in service, and even in unity.
Grace and peace,