Hi B4 Church,
We’re now in week eight of our stay-at-home order, and if you’re anything like me you’re probably getting a little frustrated. It’s starting to feel old. It’s beginning to wear on our souls. Despite this, there are lighter moments.
At the grocery store this week, I reached for the last bottle of tangerine juice at the exact same moment as a stranger who also wanted it. This woman and I looked at each other with our masks on and said, “You take it. No, you can have it.” We went back and forth like that while her husband observed, I finally said, “Let’s rock-paper-scissors for it.” He said to her, “Honey, go for it.” So we did and I lost. It turned out to be a fun moment in the middle of this crazy time.
Until now, we never needed to know how to navigate things like one bottle of juice that two people wanted. There was always plenty of juice on the shelves. We’re in unfamiliar territory and nobody knows exactly how to deal with what we’re going through. I’ve thought about this a lot lately and I want to offer you some perspective.
There’s a difference between some of my personal feelings and my public responsibility. There are moments when I think this quarantine is crazy, an extreme response that’s out of sync with the problem. I have those feelings but I also realize that I have a public responsibility to walk within the boundaries of our law. We have a mandate from Jesus to bring peace and be a part of the solution in our city not part of the problem. That’s an important thing for us to remember. There’s a difference between our personal feelings about the quarantine and our public responsibility, especially as Christians.
Jesus called us to lay down our lives for the sake of others. On the Cross, when Jesus was being accused and they were telling him to save himself, he refused to look after his own interests. He was concerned for their welfare. That’s how I process this lockdown. There are moments when I would love to do my own thing, fight for my rights. Then I’m reminded that as a Christian I’m called to lay down my life for my brothers and sisters. That’s what we get to do every day.
We enter into Jesus’ way when we decide that we’re going to walk through this time with humility and joy. We say to ourselves that we’re going to be a people of peace and we’re going to follow the way of Jesus during this pandemic. That doesn’t mean that I love this season. I want to be really clear about this; I look forward to the lifting of the restrictions. Even now, we have a team of people at B4 who are dreaming of new ways that we might be able to connect as restrictions begin to lift. We’re laying out a plan for that and for when we do gather again. As our government begins to phase the reopening of Oregon, we also get to phase-in our reopening and we want to be well prepared.
I think we’re going to see some good things happen in our future because there are good things happening now, under the restrictions. This is not an attack on the Church. This is not an attack against our religious freedom. Right now, B4 Church is meeting urgent needs and gaining credibility in our city and region. At B4, people are still connecting from within their homes. There are house churches all over our city right now because of what’s happening. We’re not like restaurants. We’re not shutting down and laying off employees. I’m hearing from churches all over that the Church is thriving during this time. I want to encourage you with that news. I want to encourage you to continue to lean into your faith and trust what Jesus is doing in this season and the many other opportunities that may emerge.
I love you guys. I’m praying for you and my heart longs for the day when we can see each other face-to-face again. Until then, may God’s grace and peace be with you all.