I hope you will forgive me, but I must admit something to you: This is
my first pandemic. I have never been through anything like Covid-19
before. I know. You’re shocked. I say this because my lack of experience
in what to do next, with my family, my children and my church, has
forced me to confess my ignorance in multiple areas. “I don’t know” has
become a common phrase for me, and as a first-born child and a
preacher, I find that very difficult. (My family is laughing at that.) The
truth is “I don’t know” is often the best answer I can give.
They didn’t teach us in seminary what to do in a pandemic. In my 26
years as a pastor, I’ve never seen anything like this before. However, a
long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a volunteer fire fighter. I
have forgotten much of what I was taught by the fire chief, Donald
Hudson, but I have never forgotten this: “Take your time. The fire will
kill you.” He said that when I put on equipment. He told me that when I
put on breathing apparatus. Walk to a fire; don’t run. Pay attention. Be
careful. “Take your time. The fire will kill you.”
Those are wise words for now. For us individually and as a church. I
have missed you terribly in our time of being together separately, but I
will not let my feelings get in the way of careful planning. I want to rush
into our sanctuary and hug everyone I see on a Sunday morning. But I
cannot let my desire overwhelm the good sense God gave me. Take your
time. The world is on fire. How shall we react?
Over the next couple of weeks your Board and Elders will meet. We
will be talking about how to be together again safely, but the world has
changed radically. We can only welcome about 50 people into our
sanctuary. We can’t all be there at once. There must be masks and hand
sanitizer and a way for us to share the Lord’s Supper without spreading
illness. All of these are crucial issues that will take us a while to figure
out. That’s fine. We will take our time and be patient. The fire can kill us.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Kentucky has a
wonderful document to help us with our planning and decision-making.
You can find it here. http://www.ccinky.net/healthy-at-church/ I am
grateful to God that I am your pastor now. For such a time as this we
were put here. And we will get to the next step together.