This Present Reality

“Soon and very soon we are going to see the king….”

The old spiritual song is simple in its hope of heaven and a confident release from the troubles of this life and world.  We live in two “worlds” as believers.  We live in a hope for what’s coming—indeed, is being revealed even now—and we live in awareness that what we see is passing away.  Paul’s Letter to the Romans, especially Chapter 8 teaches us how to live and trust in this “now and not yet” reality.

As we live in this present reality, frustration that we aren’t there yet is bound to arise.  Like little children, we plead and beg our Dad, “Are we there yet?”  On a similar—and perhaps, related—subject, perhaps you are feeling this frustration about our current “stay home, stay healthy”-shaped life.  When will it end?

It seems that we take steps toward everything re-opening, only to find that way stalled or even find ourselves taking steps backward.  Maybe you’re feeling this way about re-opening worship at Bethlehem.  Are you wondering, “When can I worship in my church?” or “When can I gather with my church family?” 

Your church staff members have been developing a plan.  Most of us perhaps have a vision in our minds of how wonderful it will be to get back to worship.  “Let me do something ‘normal,’” we ask.  To help us be ready—to “do” things well” we are developing a plan.  Our thought right now is that we will gather on-sight for worship two Sundays after our county enters Phase 2.  The Phase 2 guidelines allow about 100 folks to gather at one time.  With our two worship services resuming, we should be able to accommodate everyone who wants to attend.

Just a word in advance.  When we get together, we will see some changes.

Just a word in advance.  When we get together, we will see some changes.  Seating patterns may change, the way we distribute communion may be different—the way we enter the sanctuary and leave the sanctuary may be different.  Our goal will be to keep things as much “the same” as they were, but we also want to care for each member and their well-being.  I’m sure a number of questions are rushing to your thoughts…I don’t have answers for those questions, yet.  An email/letter will be sent out in advance of our gathering together that will address the “’hows,” “whats” and “whys”—maybe even the “what-ifs.”

A number of you have volunteered to serve on a “hygiene team” to sanitize the worship area and the common areas in the narthex (door handles, bathroom sinks, tables and seats).  Thank you for your willingness to serve.  I will be in touch with you soon to set up a meeting to talk about training and scheduling your service.  More than a dozen of you have volunteered.  I am grateful for your willingness to step up and help.  There will probably be more opportunities for volunteers in the near future.

Remember, as Jesus followers, our future points us to our hope in Him.  “Soon and very soon….”  Hold on to hope and have…

Joy in the journey,

Pastor Jeff Shearier

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