29 April 2020
Dear MPC Family,
Looking back at last month’s “Link” article, dated 2 April, I realize how much can happen in a month, even with social distancing, stay at home orders, closed businesses, and such. In last month’s “Link,” I recorded that over 5,000 Americans had died from the virus. The numbers posted on Fox News this morning are 58,368 deaths (and, yes, I know people doubt their accuracy, but we’ve got to use some measure). Many of you know folks, even family, who’ve contracted the virus. We all know people who’ve been laid off, are seeking to get unemployment, whose businesses are going to have a hard time getting back open, and so on and so forth. Many of us are wondering if the whole stimulus check thing is some imaginary lollipop out there. Also, here in Monroeville (where our county has only had twelve cases, and one death), we kind of wonder if shutting down the businesses has actually been a help or a hurt (whether the few cases we have had are evidence to the wisdom of the government’s measures, or if the measures were overblown and unnecessary). As for that, we can debate the “might have beens,” or “should have dones” all day. It’s best to stick with “what is,” and go from there. Less stress and strife that way.
And, I’ll tell you what. The “what is” is that Jesus Christ is King and ruler over all (Matthew 28:18; Revelation 19:16, etc.). Jesus is totally in charge, and he is taking care of his people with great diligence and love (Romans 8:28). You can bank on that.
Governor Ivey’s loosening of her restrictions (which she announced yesterday) are a sign we’ll get back to normal life eventually, and hopefully soon. I love how she brings her pastor to speak about churches’ situations specifically in her addresses to the state. That lady loves Jesus and the State of Alabama. I regularly pray our leaders would see themselves as subordinate to Christ and seek his will and wisdom as they govern. Governor Ivey seems to be that type of governor. We are blessed in that, my friends. Some other states do not have that.
Now, other than home, I spend most of my time at two places on most normal days—either the church or the gym. I imagine many of ya’ll are similar in this—just fill in the two places with your version of things. Anyway, the gym remains closed, although I’ve seen lots and lots of people walking and getting out. Also, from talking to folks, it seems that people have been getting all caught up with projects around the house, and their gardens look better than they ever had before. I heard one of the guys at the garden center in town said business is so good it’s like the old times. You may know what he means.
As for church, we are not meeting together in person, yet. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. The gradual loosening of restrictions by the governor reflects that hope, and she has assured us she is thinking about us. The session, for now, is looking at ideas about how and under what circumstances we are going to open the doors back up and resume our normal church schedule. I assure you, we want to get the church doors open soonest (more to follow on that this month—stay tuned). We’re going to get there, Lord willing. One thing I know about all ya’ll, as good and faithful Christian Southerners, you are patient (most of you, at least). Lord willing, we’re going to get there.
And we’ve never ceased worship or fellowship through this whole thing. It’s just looked a little different. My friends, the Lord knows what’s going on. We have been obedient. We have been glorifying him all through this. Think about it. We have not forsaken each other or him. We have been talking on the phone, visiting, seeing each other when we make a run to pick up various things at the various places that remain open (sometimes picking up things for each other). We’ve been regularly checking to make sure everyone is okay and that each of us have our needs met. We’ve been praying at home and with our families. We’ve been gathering around the computer or however you get internet (or, the CD player), and worshipping on Sunday through livestream or recordings—united together in worship through the Spirit of God! We even, as a congregation, shared a time of fasting and prayer (something I think should not just be a onetime thing, by the way).
I hope during this time that you’ve been able to reflect on what is really important in life. Busyness has a way of creeping up on us to a point where the “important” is neglected for the “urgent.” I suspect that when we get back to our regular routines of life, we will have a little different perspective on things. Mayhaps, the Lord will use all this to help us whittle things down, purging the things that are just time wasters, or trivialities, in our lives. Maybe the Lord will have used this to help us grow more reliant upon him. Maybe the Lord is using this time to help us focus on who we really are as his people. I know he’s using it in some way. I fully expect that we will come out on the other side of this having grown in our walk with Jesus Christ (Romans 5:3-5).
I love all ya’ll. Stay faithful. Remember, that no-matter what happens, the Lord has us in the palm of his hand, and there is no better place to be.
In Christ, Roger