Pastor’s Friday Comment (03.20.20)

To state the obvious, all of our lives are being turned upside down by our required responses to the novel Coronavirus. I don’t need to recount all the things we do differently now from the way we did them just a week or so ago.

But for those of us at Parkway who value our interconnectedness, the critical disruption to our life as a family of faith will be the inability to gather for corporate worship. Unfortunately, “congregating” is the very definition of what health professionals are advising us to avoid, and as Christians we need to set the example for everyone else.

So, that leaves us prayerfully deliberating over the best alternative to ensure that some form of weekly worship is offered, even if we are compelled to participate either singly or in a very small group. As you talk to your friends and see information from other churches, you will find that various congregations are using a number of different approaches and platforms in an effort to come as close as possible to replicating our usual Sunday experience.

We will try to offer you an approximation of corporate worship, but the higher goal will be to aid you in a personal and/or family experience of communion with God. Sometime today (Friday, March 20) you will receive an email with instructions regarding how to participate in either or both of our weekend worship experiences. Attached you will find orders of worship for both The Beginning and Morning Worship. The Beginning will have links to songs that you can play during the meditative portions of the service. The Morning Worship bulletin will include instructions for listening to the reading of Scripture, the pastoral prayer, and the sermon from the website.

I suppose it would be ideal if we all participate in The Beginning at 9 a.m. and Morning Worship at 11 a.m. on Sunday. It might keep us in our routine (sometimes a good thing) and it might help us to know that others were worshipping with us simultaneously. However, the Holy Spirit of God can be with us at any time and any place and I’m sure is capable of knitting us together without consideration of either time or place.

My concern is simply that you participate. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews admonished early Christians not to neglect “to meet together, as is the habit of some” (10:25). I doubt that even that wise author anticipated the challenges that we are facing in meeting that instruction, but God did. And because it is in the nature of God to desire communion with the children, I am sure that God will not only honor our efforts, but will be clearly present among us, no matter where we gather.