Pastor’s ponderings

While I was away on vacation a couple of weeks ago, the Conference office issued a letter to the pastors entitled, Updates to in-person worship in the Virginia Conference.  In this letter, Bishop Lewis had many things to convey, but I think the sentence that stood out to me the most was this one: “By July 1, all major decision-making for mitigation methods will revert to local churches.”  Starting July 1st, local churches will be making the decisions centered around our risk assessments and precautionary measures regarding the pandemic.  For many of you this is exciting news, isn’t it?  We will be able to determine how we do a great many things, without the Conference issuing a list of “restrictions.”  We get to determine what ministries we can do, whether or not we hold fellowship meals, and what guidelines will be utilized during our time of worship.  Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?  We get to decide!

            Well, to be honest, for me, it’s not really. It’s not exciting news, for what will be required of us is not as easy as it sounds.  The Conference has spent months working on their guidelines, utilizing a panel of experts to guide their decision making.  Now all of that will fall upon us.  Yes, I said us, not just me.  We are in this together, and must make these decisions together.  And, anytime decisions are made by a group, there will always be a difference of opinion, won’t there?  We all have our own ideas on how we can “return to normal,” whatever your definition of “normal” may be.  How will we do so, while still trying to protect the vulnerable, while still trying to protect our community, while still trying to love God and love neighbor?

            How things will unfold in the coming months I do not know.  What I do ask is that all us pray as Solomon did – for wisdom to do what is best for God’s people.  For only then, will we truly be doing God’s will and not just meeting our own desires.

                                                                        Pastor Steve

That night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask what I should give you.” Solomon said to God, “… 10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of yours?” 11 God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may rule my people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. 2 Chronicles 1:7-12a, NRSV

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