From the Board

Everyone is talking about the coronavirus. It’s on every television channel, every radio station, and part of every conversation. It’s not a surprise we would focus on information about the COVID-19, since the spread of the virus and precautions about the disease have changed life more than almost anything else most of us have lived through. Government press conferences and news reports make “social distancing” part of our daily language. We don’t really know how long we’re going to have to go through it. It could be two more weeks. It could be a month. Some could be hanging out at home until fall.

Social distancing isn’t new, however. The story of the Passover, in the book of Exodus, has an explicit “stay at home order” in response to a plague. God was preparing to send a plague to destroy the first born of all Egyptians and gave Moses specific instructions to relay to the Children of Israel so that they would not be harmed by the plague. One of the instructions (Exodus 12:22), reads “Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin, and brush the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe. NONE OF YOU SHALL GO OUT THE DOOR OF HIS HOUSE UNTIL MORNING.” In order to be protected from the plague, the Children of Israel had to stay at home in quarantine.

Daniel used social distancing three times a day when he left all the activities of the king’s court and went to his room, where he opened the windows and prayed.

Jesus patterned that activity for us, also. After being with people all day, facing ridicule, harassment and personal demands, He would often spend most of the night praying; as He separated Himself from the virus of jealousy and hatred that surrounded Him.

This challenging time provides us an opportunity to work, pray, learn, play and rest in new ways. We need to love like we have never loved before. This is an opportunity to practice AGAPE love as we work towards everyone’s best possible outcome.

No one would stare a global pandemic in the face and say, “this is good.” However, GOD IS IN CONTROL. Amid all the chaos and change, there are blessings to be found.

We can be thankful for the extra time at home with family; often we get distracted by our jobs and other obligations; neglecting this responsibility.

We can be thankful for neighbors who help each other by going to the store, picking up a prescription, or even mowing other people’s lawns. Some neighbors even organize creative social–distancing alternatives to worship together.

We can be thankful for the innovative, can-do spirit of the church and particularly their PASTORS. As has been experienced in other seasons of crisis; when the fire is turned up, God’s people start cooking. It has been extremely encouraging these past weeks to see clergy and laity rise to the occasion of pushing through the impossible to make things happen. Jesus’ church has some of the most innovative and creative leaders on the face of the planet. Even the most rural of churches are finding ways to keep their people connected through this season of social distancing. The church is awesome!

We can be thankful for additional time to study God’s Word and pray. Once we finish praying we need to be quiet long enough to hear the Lord speak. “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG).

As Christians, we do not always have a choice what challenges we face, but we can always choose how we respond; just as business owners choose to price gouge by selling four ounces of hand sanitizer for $400, others are using beverage distilleries to make hand sanitizer at no profit. Christians can either lament that canceled gatherings and rescheduled Walks are the devil’s work or get busy setting up video streaming services, audio recording services, local broadcasts from their churches, and exercise other means to stay connected.

The Board is grateful for all the prayers, comments, and other support provided by our EMMAUS Community. That’s what makes it easy to fulfill our role.

Please remember to both continue to pray for and acknowledge the efforts of the heroes of this crisis; the truck drivers, retailers, first responders, medical professionals, and pastors.

The Devil uses challenges like the Coronavirus in an attempt to stifle and crush believers’ effectiveness in being the hands and feet of Christ. Pray for the many pastors who are confronted with finding solutions to keep people from experiencing grief in isolation, working through financial challenges while their churches are closed, finding ways to remain connected to their parishioners, and dealing with other tough decisions as the crisis continues.

Remember also, the many food banks and volunteer organizations in your communities as they attempt to meet the increased demand for services.

As your Board, we want you to know that we are here for you, and if there is anything we can do to help, let us know.

As was reinforced when we Walked as Pilgrims, the church is not a building, WE ARE THE CHURCH. The believer’s relationship with God does not cease at the exit door of the church building. We encourage you to call both church members and non-members on the phone and commune with them, read your scriptures, participate in services (practicing social-distancing) and be steadfast in prayer. Have faith and be the Hands and feet of Christ.

Put July 18, 2020 on your calendar!! In celebration of all God has done and will do for our EMMAUS Community, we will hold our annual picnic to “kick-off” our Fall Walks.

In closing we would like to leave you with a thought, courtesy of The Word For You Today:
Peace is difficult to find in these trying times. The secret to “perfect peace” lies in Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” It’s not your circumstances, but how you think about them that robs you of peace. Focusing on your circumstances causes more anxiety, because circumstances change constantly and often spin out of our control. God, however, never changes, and nothing ever spins out of His control. Peace and worry are mutually exclusive. Worry throttles your confidence, chokes your perspective, and suffocates your spirit. It robs you of the peace that comes from knowing the God who can handle anything, and through whom all things are possible. The reason we worry so much is because we engage in exactly the opposite behavior to that which brings peace. Worry is like a “no confidence” vote in God. You may not intend it that way, but every time you give in to worry, in essence you are saying, “I don’t believe God can or will handle this for me. I’m not sure I can trust him in this matter, so I’ll just have to carry this burden and take care of the problems myself.” God is either the object of your trust or just a part-time helper you call on when you can’t handle things on your own. It’s reminiscent of the elephant and the mouse that walked over a bridge. When they got to the other side, the mouse said, “Man, we really shook that bridge!” When you begin to see God as playing a major role and you the minor one, you’ll begin to find the peace which eluded you for so long. Be at peace!

De Colores!