Communitas Friends and Family:
Over the course of the last several weeks, the world has changed dramatically. Many of us live in areas where social distancing and even lock-downs are in place. We have friends and family who are impacted, and Communitas has people who are part of our churches who are ailing from COVID-19. In some areas, critical consumer needs are in short supply. Financial markets are in turmoil. We just canceled our spring conference, and other travel and worship gatherings have been postponed or cancelled.
We might react in many different ways in circumstances such as these. Some of us become fearful, anxious, even panic-stricken. Others of us may experience anger or denial. Many become overwhelmed with grief as our communities suffer and our lives get disrupted. In some cases, a reaction can include scapegoating, blaming someone or something as the source of the situation. I encourage you to authentically process whatever emotions you’re experiencing. Take moments to be quiet and listen to the Lord in prayer. Share your emotions with those close to you, even if you have to do it virtually. Get perspective and support from others. Let us remember, especially now, that we are not alone.
I am reminded several times a day of Paul’s words in Romans 8:15: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
As Christians, we are a people of Hope; we are a people of Peace; we are a people of Grace; we are a people of Love. My friends, we have a Hope alive in us that is especially called for in a time such as this.
I am saddened by the stories of suffering coming from all over the world. I am also deeply encouraged by signs of community and love that come pouring out in times of struggle. As Vice chairman of the Italian Evangelical Alliance, Leonardo De Chirico, says, “We’ve never experienced a time of openness towards spiritual conversations as we have in the past few days.”
Jesus told his followers to expect times of strife, suffering, and war. He also told his followers to love one another JUST AS he has loved us (John 15:12). Let us continue to be the people who throw open our windows and sing with our neighbors (while practicing acceptable social-distancing, of course!) so that the world sees the Hope that is in us as followers of Jesus. And while some leaders are suggesting that if we abide by the restrictions being put in place “we will win this war,” let’s remember what we know in Christ: in Him, through Him, and with Him, we have already won. We are more than conquerors!
Because of you, precious souls are being reached with the Good News. Thank you for your partnership in sharing Hope with the hopeless, especially now.
May Grace & Peace abound,
Geoff Rinehart, President