We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. I John 5:19 (NIV)
Present Challenges for the Church Family
We often speak of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ as being a family. Over and over again in the Scriptures, we read that in Christ we indeed have become the children of God. Peter speaks of this divine family relationship, referring to God’s people as the “family of God” (1 Peter 4:17). In the book of Acts, we see several examples of how the family of God ought to treat one another (ex. - Acts 2:42-47).
We can also turn to the many “one another” passages that help believers to understand that we are not meant to live our Christian lives in isolation. Being a member of the family of God has many wonderful benefits but also some very important responsibilities. In an article entitled, Authentic Fellowship, Howard A. Snyder writes: Several things stand out when we look at the many “one anothers,” such as “be devoted to one another” (Rom. 12:10), “serve one another” (Gal. 5:13), “carry one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2). First, most of these passages imply behaviors, not just attitudes. The New Testament writers are less concerned with how believers feel about each other than they are about their actions—their living together as community and publicly as disciples. Sometimes we reverse this, focusing on attitudes but forgetting action. Second, all the "one another" passages imply a social context—appropriate structures in which these behaviors can be lived out … Third, nearly all the "one another" passages are imperatives—instructions about actual behaviors, not reminders of abstract spiritual truths we can enjoy meditating upon. The New Testament is full of these "one another" injunctions precisely because early Christians needed to be reminded of them.” Just as the early Church needed to be reminded of the “one another injunctions” so too does the present-day Church – maybe now more than ever. We are called to live out our faith in community. There is nothing worse than a church that only has attitude (usually a bad one) and nothing better than a church with a godly attitude accompanied by godly actions. I am grateful that our church family is one that acts on what we profess.
Because of the current pandemic and restrictions, it is more difficult to function as a family than it was before COVID-19 hit. Back in March, I thought to myself, “This will all be over in a few weeks.” Weeks turned into months and I thought, “By the end of the summer, we’ll be meeting together without restrictions.” Now that the fall is almost here, I am realizing a few things: First, I would have made a terrible prophet! And second, we need to figure out new ways to adjust to our present circumstances (which we may be in for quite some time). We will be offering an Inquirer’s/New Members Zoom course in September. I am also considering a Zoom course called “Christianity Explored,” which would be open to Christians, seekers, and skeptics (a non-threatening, “ask anything you want,” kind of meeting – check out the video at https://christianityexplored.us/Groups/276315/CE_ORG/CE_ORG.aspx). Would a daily or weekly short devotional (video or print) sent to your email be beneficial? Perhaps you have some ideas that you want to see the church offer (like an online prayer service or an online service of singing and praise). Please share with me any ideas that you might have as a way to bring us together even when we are forced to be apart? Rather than complaining about our present circumstances (which I am doing far too often), now is the time for God’s family to seek ways we can adjust and move forward with the ministry that Jesus has given to us.
In God’s Grace,
An online/Zoom Inquirers/New Members Course will be offered in September for anyone who would like to learn more about the Christian faith and history, Woodland Presbyterian Church, and the EPC (Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination). If you are interested in participating, please contact the church office (360-225-8941). Once we have compiled a list, I will contact you to determine the best day and time to run this four-week class.