By Pastor Bob Myers
2 Corinthians 8 records a time of global trial in the first century. It calls it a test of affliction. God allows tests to show what He has worked into our lives. God tests to bring out the positives and to confirm His work.
I so miss gathering as a church. The very word for church means those who are the called out ones, the ones who are gathered together in community to be God’s mission force. We have lost one central way that we express that reality through physically gathering. But we have not lost that calling and the most basic ways we express that reality.
Your Staff at Covenant exist to serve Christ and to be your servants too. In this season, each of us have seen Covenant Church shine with graciousness, pro-active compassion, and communicate gratitude for each ministry that touches their lives.
I have personally heard from so many of you and also heard of many of you who are championing Covenant’s desire to be Jesus’ hands and feet. Please receive my gratitude along with the rest of our staff team. Your positivity has been so heartening during the first weeks of this crisis.
Rest assured we will continue to find ways to worship, pray, serve, connect, edify and reach out. We have all seen how this moment of crisis illumines many who serve courageously. Teachers, grocery-store employees, and especially medical professionals, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, are all manifesting courage and faithfulness that we all rely upon like never before.
I sense a pivot is happening in many of our lives. First, we simply sought to marshall resources to manage the crisis and respond with the basics. But after this new reality settles into some degree, we have to move beyond a superficial response that calls for something deeper.
Currently, there is a wonderful unity in sheltering in place so that we serve the vulnerable by “flattening the curve”. A sacrificial resolve borne out of love and regard for the preciousness of each life has dominated the response to this crisis. Crises bring out the best and the worst. Where there have been some who hoard, others display incredible generosity. Where there have been some in our world who have been embittered and sought to blame others, others rise up as advocates and protectors of the wrongly persecuted.
This is Macedonian Christianity: “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” - 2 Corinthians 8:1-2
This is a “severe test of affliction”. Tests of affliction create the opportunity for quiet acts of heroism, faith and faithfulness. We are seeking ways to turn our attention outward. Quiet gestures of love and heroism beckon to us. As we gather in prayer tonight and in the weeks ahead, we should pray not only for needs, but for the lessons we need to learn and the people we need to serve.
In this trial we are all learning what it means to be “wholeheartedly ready and willing” to live for Jesus Christ. We may have a long season to go. Only God knows the future. I believe that as believers in Christ respond with vigorous faith and service, Satan will be sorry he ever messed with us!
Thank you for being the church. Let’s learn the lessons God has for us. And let’s resolve to love well the people God is calling us to!