March 17, 2020
Dear Middleburgh Reformed Church family and friends,
We are honoring the request by the Schoharie County Department of Health that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not gather for worship for the next two weeks. There will be no public worship March 22nd and 29th. This includes all activities and meetings.
This does not mean we are canceling church or worship! Actually, we believe this is impossible. Worship will happen, even if the rocks have to cry out. What we can do is not to miss out! I will be putting together an order of worship for you to use in your own home. This way we can still pray together this Sunday, read Scripture, and listen to God’s word. I will send out an email and post this to our website (www.middleburghreformed.org) later this week.
In the meantime, I’ll be checking in on you. I’ll start calling people Wednesday to make sure you received this message, unless you reply first. We have people in our church willing to help with any needs, including errands, like grocery shopping. I would even be happy to share toilet paper.
We are also closing the building to social gatherings at this time. This does not include AA meetings.
And finally, a word of encouragement. For some, this situation is adding to our already full life of anxiety and kicking up fears about the unknown for us and those we love. For others, it’s a news headline that is disrupting our regular routine. Wherever you are, hear again that God has you, He cares for you, and He is willing your good. How do we know? Because of his great love for us that even while we were still sinners (estranged and far from God), he sent Jesus Christ into the world for our salvation. When we come to know this it’s a wonderful moment! We also set out in a journey for a lifetime of knowing this more and more. This is something you can say with all the assurance one can muster to others: trust this anchor, Jesus Christ, instead of the other anchors that are coming loose. Times like this kick up ways that we can still trust God more, refining our desires and thinking. This moment can become an opportunity that we can prayerfully get clear on things we trust in, but that will disappoint. A favorite psalm to read at a graveside service is 121: “I lift my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?” (v. 1) The mountains and high places were positions of strength, protection, military advantage. Today we might say our mountains are money, health care, governments. Does our help come from them? Perhaps some, but not ultimately. These other things are temporary and will not hold the weight of Life. As those who have faith in Christ, our protest is: “My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.” (v.2) We may stop meeting for a couple weeks for a short-term social good and in obedience to the government. But we remind ourselves that our life is more than health, wealth and safety. “The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life” (v. 7).
If you have any questions, concerns, or need anything, let me know. I look forward to seeing you again soon,
Pastor Jeff Kelley
firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 518-860-7404 (call or text)