Moving Forward in Dangerous Waters
According to the U.S. Merchant Marine, 1,554 ships under U.S. flag or with American service members on board were sunk during WWII by torpedoes, shelling, bombs, kamikazes, or mines. Many lives were lost in those dangerous waters.
Guiding the church these days is like guiding a ship at night through dangerous waters, with mine fields left and right:
- There is the coronavirus which has paralyzed our nation, closing businesses, schools, and churches.
- There is racial unrest and division over injustice.
- There is political hatred, violence, and division unlike anything seen in decades, with a war looming over the upcoming election and the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.
The future direction of our country is at stake.
If we as the church, individually and collectively, say anything about any of these challenges, we risk being divisive and incurring the wrath of those with counter views. If we say nothing, then we risk becoming irrelevant. Does Scripture say nothing about the times we are in and the challenges we face? Should there be no Christian voice in our representative democracy? (Please vote!).
Let’s be honest, most people coming to worship are not looking for political speech or personal opinions on the culture – they get enough of that on TV, radio, and online. Social media is abuzz with divisive opinions. People are looking to connect with God through worship, for fellowship with fellow believers, and for a word from God to encourage, instruct, and renew their faith. But when Scripture touches on moral or even cultural issues, we must not close our eyes and ears. God cares about us and the world we live in, and has spoken about issues like the sanctity of life from the unborn to the aged, justice for the oppressed, and to respect and pray for our leaders.
We just need to be faithful – like a lighthouse in these dark times, shining the light of God’s love and truth to those in dangerous waters.
What did the disciples learn when they found themselves in dangerous waters on the stormy Sea of Galilee? To keep their eyes on Jesus, the Master of the storm. He alone can bring peace to those who look to Him.
What have disciples over the ages done during turbulent times? They have spoken the truth in love, stood for justice, been peacemakers wherever possible, sought to meet the needs of their community, and been examples of morality in an immoral world. Most of all, they have prayed for God’s help and pointed people to God, like a lighthouse to a ship in dark and dangerous waters.
So move forward we must, even in these dangerous times. We have taken extraordinary measures to provide 2 services of outdoor worship each Sunday for the last 19 weeks, making it as safe and as comfortable as we can. We have provided a Children’s Moment each service for the last 14 weeks, with a lesson and activity packet for our children. We have taken a journey through Exodus, and the wisdom of the book of James, and now through the Contrasts in the letters of John (wait ‘til you hear my message this Sunday on Children of God vs. Children of the Devil!). We have resumed Growth Groups for students, young adults, and adults, in person or online, with 130+ attending one of 11 groups. We are investigating how to safely restart indoor worship and children’s classes, if able, once the weather drives us indoors. And through it all, even when the way has seemed risky or unclear, we have relied on God to guide us, sustain us, and bring us through all of this.
We invite you to join us, in person if possible or at home, in praying and supporting and moving forward together, trusting the Master of the storm through these dangerous waters.
Mike Openshaw, Senior Minister