“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7
Over the past several days, I have been doing a lot of praying and reading about what it looks like to seek the welfare of our city during this current public health crisis. In order to promote the full welfare of our city, state, nation, and world, we have decided to move this Sunday’s worship service to an online format. A question that you might have is: shouldn’t we continue to worship in the midst of this difficult situation? The emphatic answer is: yes! We will continue to worship together, just in a different way.
Although we will not be gathering in-person this weekend, we will post an online worship service this Sunday at 9am at wcchapel.org/worship
I encourage everyone who calls the Chapel their church home to utilize this tool. In this moment of high anxiety and fear for so many, it is essential that the church continue to worship Jesus as Lord over all, including our current public health crisis.
In addition to worshipping in an online format, we will not host any programming on the Chapel campus next week (Friday, March 13 through Friday, March 20). However, we can continue to stay connected as we live out God’s commands and experience His presence through:
- Let us continue to pray for our community, our country, and our world in this time of uncertainty. A valuable resource we introduced two summers ago was our Psalms Reflection Challenge. If you are unsure of how to pray during this time the Psalms are a great place to begin.
- As we worship outside of our physical space, please continue to prioritize giving back to the God who gave everything for us as you are able. Please visit wcchapel.org/giving to give online. You can also use the secure drop-box at Door West 1 or mail your gift to the Chapel, 3899 John Tyler Hwy.
- I want to emphasize that we are changing our behavior out of love for those who are vulnerable among us and not out of fear. The passage I am scheduled to preach on this Sunday is Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. Please consider reading Luke 10:25-37 where we will find an example of what true neighborliness in a time of desperate need looks like and follow Jesus’ command to “go and do likewise.”
- If you are in need of care, we would love to provide pastoral care. As always, please call the church office, 229-7152, with any pastoral care needs.
- While we will continue to send email updates, a great way to stay connected in a more timely fashion is through text messages to our mobile devices. Please sign up for our Chapel News text list in order to stay up to date on any important or time-sensitive updates.
- To sign up, text the phrase CHAPELNEWS to the number 41411. For detailed instructions, and to see a list of all our communication tools, visit wcchapel.org/communications.
- If you would like to share anything with us, we would love to hear from you. Please visit wcchapel.org/feedback to share your thoughts with us.
- We will send another email update by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 18.
I know I’ve already shared a lot of information with you in this email, but please allow me a few additional paragraphs to offer some pastoral perspective on this moment. God’s Word has much to say to God’s people in times of difficulty. In fact, we just finished an entire series on the 5 Major Prophets and 12 Minor Prophets. This is an entire section of scripture devoted to God speaking to his people in trouble.
We learned the three big words God says to his people in trouble: reality, repentance, rescue. Reality: there are many unknowns around this situation. What we are dealing with has implications beyond what we can currently see or understand. Repentance: we must confess, as we acted out somberly during our Ash Wednesday service, that we are but dust, and to dust we shall return. This is an important time of reflection on our mortality and need for a Savior. Rescue: but thanks be to God that He did not merely speak into our trouble, He became the Living Word, Jesus Christ, enfleshed in the midst of our trouble. He took on the penalty of sin with its symptoms of sickness, brokenness, fear, and anxiety, and offers rescue to all who place their faith and trust in him.
This perspective is quite different from what we read in the news these days. My pastoral encouragement to the Chapel family is, in the same way we are being vigilant about washing our hands and how we interact with one another, to also be vigilant about our informational diet. Please make sure you are including significant portions of God’s Word in your diet this week. If you don’t know where to start, our E100 Reading Plan is a great resource during this time.
In closing, let us remember the wisdom from God’s Word through Jeremiah. “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). The uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our workplaces, schools, and day-to-day activities. Yet we seek the welfare of our city by remaining confident of God’s constant presence and His careful attention to all that is happening, remembering to pray for our city, nation, and world.
Your brother in Christ,
Lead Pastor, Williamsburg Community Chapel