Dear Church Family,
May the Lord bless you and your dear ones as you gather to celebrate our independence today. I hope this a refreshing time to reflect and connect for you.
As you know, we live in a time which finds people painfully disconnected with jarring statements of hostility and antagonism all around us. While we hope to influence our culture for good, we are not utopians, and we understand the world, the flesh, and the demonic realm will always war against the peace of Christ. Therefore, we have a precious opportunity to be different and to model for the world the love of Christ.
As we assemble to worship, please be mindful to leave the world's spirit behind. As Christians, we have a different way of life rooted in grace, self-sacrifice, in peaceful appeals, in loving warnings, in honoring one another as image-bearers of God, in prayerful hope of redemption, in reconciliation, in the humility of those clothed in a righteousness not our own, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Though disagreements occur, kindness, respect, and freedom of conscience must prevail. While we draw a firm line around doctrinal essentials, in all other matters we live by charity and patience.
Bearing this in mind, I want you to know ahead of time we are asking everyone who attends worship indoors to wear masks and refrain from congregational singing. As elders, we recognize we are not epidemiologists and even epidemiologists disagree among themselves about the best way forward. Therefore, we have adopted a cautious stance, not out of fear but out of respect for life. Those who wear seatbelts are not accused of fear, nor should they be. Similarly, we view masks and refraining from singing indoors to be wise precautions. Romans 14 urges those who are strong to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. If your faith is strong and you feel these steps are unnecessary, we trust you will have enough grace from God to submit to these measures out of love for Christ and those whose conscience is more sensitive in this matter.
Other typical guidelines will be posted, all of which are very familiar by now. If you are coming with children, please bring activities for them if they need it. Lastly, we will continue to display worship on the big screen outdoors in the yard where masks are more optional and singing is allowed. If you plan to join worship outdoors, please bring your chairs.
We dearly love you all. You are precious in Christ's eyes and in ours also. Our great hope is to proclaim Christ, warning and teaching with all wisdom so we might present every person mature in Him. Part of the opportunity provided by this season is to mature in our approach to our differences.
Grace and Peace,