March 17, 2020
Dear Grace Family,
We hope this letter finds you well. It has been a surreal experience to see the news reports come in as COVID-19 continues to spread. As we continue to assess the situation and listen to government and healthcare officials, the session has made the decision to cancel all church gatherings (including our weekly worship service) until further notice. Furthermore, the Egg Hunt, scheduled for Saturday, April 4th, has also been cancelled.
This is not a decision we have made lightly. We firmly believe in the importance of the weekly, gathered worship of God’s people on the Lord’s Day. We exist as God’s people in order to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pt. 2:9). This includes not only our worship of God in all of life, but most supremely the corporate worship of the church, which we are urged not to neglect (Heb. 10:25).
However, we believe that love for our neighbors and obedience to our God-appointed governing authorities demands that we take these steps (Mk. 12:31, Phil. 2:4, Rm. 13:1-7).
Our Lord is just as sovereign as ever, upholding the universe by the word of his power (Heb. 1:3). Nothing catches him by surprise, or is beyond his control. He is all-wise and all-powerful. His ways are perfect (Ps. 18:30), and we trust that he will continue to use even this for his glory and our good (Rm. 8:28). All of this – like everything else that happens in our lives – has unfolded according to the perfect counsel of his will (Eph. 1:11). Though we may not understand why our Lord works in the ways that he does, we trust by faith that his ways and his thoughts are higher than ours, and we confess with the Psalmist, “You are good and do good” (Is. 55:8-9, Ps. 119:68). Indeed, “the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness” (Ps. 33:4).
Plans for Worship and Fellowship
We are working on plans to continue with a livestream worship service each Sunday, as well as several ideas of ways that we can use technology to continue to fellowship together as the body of Christ through this time. We will communicate those plans later in the week as we work through the details.
Additionally, if you have not already begun a practice of regular family worship, we encourage you to use this time to begin this practice. Please download the attached document entitled “Family_Worship”, with guidance and resources on how to have family worship. Individuals can also make use of this document for personal devotions.
Maybe the most important thing to emphasize in this time, is that while our in-person gatherings may be suspended for a time, the ministry of the church still goes on! The mission that we have received from our risen Lord, to make disciples of all nations, is still relevant even in a time of social-distancing (Mt. 18:18-20).
Times of crisis and sickness, when the world is anxious and fearful, are the times when the church must shine the light of Christ to the world, holding out the hope of the gospel and the peace of God that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7).
Many in isolation will be in need of basic necessities, and others may be in need of friendship and conversation. A phone call to check in on a neighbor or fellow church member can go a long way in helping to care for one another during this time of social distancing.
May we be the hands and feet of Jesus as we seek to reach out to our neighbors in this time of need. As we do so, showing the love of Christ to our neighbors and to one another, let us ask the Lord to use this time to open many doors for the gospel.
Finally, let us commit ourselves to prayer. Seek the Lord, trusting in his many promises to hear the prayers of his people. Ask that he might use this time to make us more like Jesus – as our routines are disrupted, that we might grow less in love with this world and more in love with Christ, storing up treasure in heaven. Pray that he might use this to convict many of their sin and lead them to repentance and that this would lead to a revival in our land. Pray for healthcare workers as they are exposed everyday, working to care for those who are ill. Pray for those who are considered higher-risk, that they may be spared from this sickness. And let us pray for the Lord to be merciful, bringing relief and healing to our world.
The GRPC Session