Health & Safety Response
Beloved Christ Memorial Family,
A few weeks ago, I preached a sermon about re-digging the wells. The story comes from Genesis 26 and involves an interaction between a man of God, Isaac, and the community around him of Philistines. Isaac has been living for a while in the land of his ancestors, Beer Lahai Roi, and seems content to muddle around at home while his kids are at each others’ throats. The mission of God has been put on pause now that Abraham, Isaac’s father, has died.
But then a famine happens in the land, and Isaac needs to take action. The logical step would be to go to Egypt because that’s what his father had done when there was a famine in his day. God tells him not to go, but instead to stay for God is with him in the midst of this. Isaac then plants crops and they produce a harvest 100 fold. He re-digs old wells, sources of water and life, and moves around a bit. There’s conflict with his neighbors, so he lets them have the wells and digs new ones. In the end, through all the chaos and conflict, God has been true to his word. He and his neighbors are friends and rely on one another. And his servants announce there is a new well (source of life!).
Friends, at the time of this writing, the governor has banned gatherings of 50 people or more. Yesterday, the White House recommended we not gather in groups of even 10 or more. Schools, gyms, entertainment complexes are closed for a time and restaurants are restricted to deliver or take out only. There is a famine in the land. But I wholeheartedly believe God is with us. It’s time to plant some seeds. It’s time to dig up some old wells and drill down to discover new ones.
Until at least April 5, the church building will be closed to the public. All of our on-campus classes, groups, and events are also suspended until this date. Some staff will likely still work in the office, though many will be working remotely from home. We will be regularly checking phone messages and emails, and ministry work will continue. Sunday services will still be available online for you to worship with us from the comfort of your own home at 8:45 and 11:00. Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/christmemorialchurchholland/videos/
The building is closed, but the church is alive and well. Let’s get to work!
Re-Dig: Embrace the ancient prayer practices of meditating on scripture. When you pray, don’t just talk to God, but listen as well. Sit quietly and comfortably. This will be hard at first. Start with 5 minutes of silence and work your way up. This is an opportunity to learn new habits and practices.
Plant: Connect with your neighbors; meet needs; donate blood; call someone who can’t leave home; stay tuned to our social media and e-news for ways to serve our community
New Wells: We will be launching a page on our website soon dedicated to a church-wide devotional with scripture, action steps, stories, worship, and more. New water, new wells, new life for all!
Friends, we will all gather again. We will worship loud and strong. We will encourage, embrace, cry, and laugh as one again. God is with us, for as the apostle Paul says, “in him we live and move and have our being.”
“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
After much prayer and discussion with our staff and other church leaders in the area, and in order to protect the health of our community and the most vulnerable in it, we have made the decision to suspend our on-campus worship services for the next two Sundays (March 15 and 22). The services will still be available online for you to worship with us from the comfort of your own home at 8:45 am and 11:00 am. Check us out on Facebook:
We recognize how much all of us look forward to gathering each week, and we have not made this decision lightly. Please know that this is not a result of fear and anxiety. The building is closed, but the Church is not closed. We are the Church. We are joining with many other churches in seeing this as an opportunity to BE the church wherever we are. Jesus said, “Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” (Matthew 18:20) This is a passage about having the authority and power of God in the midst of even the smallest community. Please pray boldly for God to revive and heal our communities, families, relationships, and all of our churches. Even if you are alone, know that you are joined with your sisters and brothers in Christ by the Holy Spirit of God. We all worship and pray together.
Take this opportunity to invite a friend to watch online. Share our services on Facebook. Use this opportunity to talk to someone about Church, and what is Church.
Lastly, be creative with this change of location. Take some time in the comfort of your home to write a note of encouragement to someone. Send a message to heal a broken relationship. Dance like no one’s watching during some of the songs. Act out the stories you hear from the Bible. Draw a picture while you listen to the sermon. Pray.
We continue to monitor this situation closely and will communicate all updates as they develop. In the meantime, pray with us and be confident that the God who began this great work in us is sure to bring it to completion.
With love and care,