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  • Justin Bills

Note From The Pastor Regarding The Latest COVID Restrictions - May 5th, 2021

Hi Everyone!


Tim played this song on Sunday called "Weep With Me" by Rend Collective and the bridge goes like this:


Turn my lament into a love song

From this lament raise up in anthem

Oh, I'll sing it in the darkness

Oh, Turn my lament into a love song

'Cause I love you Lord

And from this lament raise up in anthem


Last night we had to sit Claire down and tell her she wouldn't be having the birthday party we had planned with a few friends in our backyard. I saw her take in the news, try to be strong, but ultimately we sat on the couch together in silence and sadness for a while.


Change is always experienced as a loss, and last night we got news that there are more changes coming because of the concerning rise of COVID cases in Alberta.


I'm not an anti-masker, or someone who thinks Christians are being unfairly targeted. I think COVID is concerning and taking measures to keep our health care workers and the vulnerable amongst us safe are good! But, that doesn't mean it isn't still sad or hard to go through. It is. And it sucks.


I also recognize that change is something that can create a lot of opportunity, creativity, new life and dependance on Christ.


Here I am today sitting somewhere in-between. I feel sad. I feel a bit discouraged. I also feel hopeful and inspired to continue to see the good things God has for our church in how we can re-imagine church and worship and how it goes beyond buildings.


And like the song says, I feel the lament, the tears, the disappointment, and I can also feel God showing us that God will show us how to find the beauty, the love, the good things in the midst of it.


This scripture has been the Word of God to me throughout this pandemic:


Jeremiah 29:5-7


5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”


This was given to Israel when they were in exile -- when they were in a place they never wanted to be.


COVID isn't as extreme as Israel's exile, but COVID has led us places we never thought we'd be. We didn't imagine that we wouldn't be able to meet together a year and a half ago, but here we are!


Yet, even here, there are gardens to be planted


Even in this time there is beauty to see, and God's Kingdom to grow.


With faith, hope and love we don't have to miss out on seeing God do beautiful things through us during this discouraging news of another lockdown.


So, let's lament.


Let's shed some tears on the couch because a 6yr old can't have the party she looked forward to. (using my daughter as an example, but whatever your "not having a party" looks like)Then let's give that lament to God and see what God might want to do with it. God may want to turn this lament into a love song, into a new vision, a new plan. (For example, we came up with a party at home with just us and Claire is getting excited again)


This is what I do know about the new restrictions:


We can't have our outdoor service on May 16th. Which I was looking forward to, and that is a bummer. But we will be contributing to our city getting through COVID. We're not meeting on May 16th outside because we are "Seeking the peace of the City" just like Jeremiah said to.


And we will be dreaming up new ideas, new gardens, new life for this new season where we will not be able to meet in person.


The 16th of May will still be a special service, it's just not the one we were planning.


So stay tuned.


Stay safe.


Lament.


Cry.


And give it to God.


Let's see what new love song God might sing back to us, reminding us who we are, what is important, and how the church is more than our plans.


This month we may just see more people engaged in worship, prayer, communion and community than ever, because we're leaning into it, we're listening to God, and we're not giving up!


Join me dear church in this!


And we will see you all online for Mother's Day this Sunday.


God bless you all!


Justin





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