The psalmist says in Psalm 84, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God…Blessed are those who dwell in your house they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you…Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”
These words speak of longing for God’s nearness and presence as a passionate worshiper. While it alludes to physical space and the practices of the devoted, it is mostly about relationship with God. It speaks of a hunger and longing to know God, worship God, and serve God. This is a great reminder to us in this very different time when our normal practices of collective worship, gathering, and service have been disrupted by the health crisis in this world. Take heart, because these changes cannot take away our relationship with God. In fact, they should strengthen that relationship. As those believing in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins, we have been given access to the God that gives us assurance, strength, and blessing. We can dwell with him, anywhere! Dwell in Him as we worship him, serve him, and love others in the name of Jesus, wherever he may place you.
I believe this reminder is important as we continue to assess the current health crisis in our country and the world. Daily, updated recommendations, to be a part of the solution, continue to encourage social distancing and restrictions on gatherings. Because of this we have made difficult, yet necessary decisions, on how to care for others and show responsibility in this pandemic. We do not operate out of fear, but out of love for our neighbors. Therefore, the following will apply to Eaton Community Church:
- Our Sunday morning worship gatherings will not take place at ECC on March 22 or March 29. We will be posting a video message plus interactive options for those mornings as we gather as the church, in many places. (More details to come.)
- Our Wednesday night ETCH gatherings will not take place at ECC on March 18, March 24, or April 1. Beginning March 24 we will have online videos, lessons and activities available for families and adults to conduct at home. (More details to come early next week.)
- Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18 through April 4, our church building will be closed to all visitors, meetings, activities, and gatherings. The church office will be open for phone calls and emails.
We appreciate your understanding of these decisions as we seek to be obedient to the Lord in this time. Remember, we are STILL God’s church. While we must operate differently with routine practices and activities we are still the people of God that are on mission to Share Life, and Share Life in every circumstance. (I will share in tomorrow’s update some specific ways to care and serve for others in this time.)
As I close today’s update I want to again encourage you to dwell (abide) in Jesus each day. I know these days are trying for us all, so cry out (pray) to the living God in dependence. Remind each other that we serve the “God who is a sun and shield”, providing for us in all ways. Remind each other that we worship a God of grace who “bestows favor and honor” and “no good thing will he withhold” from those who walk in trust with Him. Be the church God created us to be.
Take care of yourself and one another!