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April 29

A Remedy for Physical Distancing

We started going through the book of Romans with the youth last night (their choice, not mine). If you think of it on Tuesday nights, please pray that our students would grow in their relationships with Christ and each other. Take a moment to read some of Apostle Paul’s opening words to the Romans (Romans 1:8-17).

I wonder if you can relate to Paul’s deep longing to be with other Christians. For different reasons than Paul, we too have been kept from being together. Many of us long to be with our friends again. For some of us, church is a primary highlight of our social calendar. Sadly, others haven’t been able to gather regularly on a Sunday since long before COVID-19. Do you miss your church family yet?

Here’s Paul’s remedy when the church is forced into long-distance relationships:

First, Pray. Paul says, “God… is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.”

When you think about how much you’re missing social time, or your regular routine, let it drive you to prayer (thankful prayer). I’d challenge you to pull out our directory and/or this week’s prayer guide and start praying for the families in our church (email our office for a list).

The amazing thing about Paul’s prayers and longing to be with the Romans is that he’d probably never met most of them at this point in his life. Yet, he prayed for the Romans constantly and their faith was famous around the world. If we’re going to be known for anything right now, let’s make sure it’s honouring Christ, not defying the law of our land.

One technological advantage that we have over Paul is that we’re still able to call, text, email and video chat with those we miss. As people come to mind, consider giving them a short call. This would be especially beneficial to those who are living on their own, or who have trouble getting to church on the best of days. Two of our Life Groups have taken it upon themselves to start calling others in the church family; we’d love for you to join the effort to stay connected.

When physical distancing is waning on you, the second thing you should do is start planning for the reunion. Paul says, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

It’s never a bad time to think about how God has gifted you and wants to use those gifts to encourage the church family. You may even realize your gifts are shareable virtually! Don’t hesitate to “build up the church” even while we’re not meeting together in person.

Lastly, never forget that while our circumstances in life are constantly changing, the good news about Jesus never changes. Paul finishes his introduction to Romans by writing these famous words: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.”

Prayer: Father, please give us faith to believe the gospel and to live for Christ until that beautiful day when we’ll be face to face with Him. We thank you for our church family. For all those who are using their gifts to stay connected with others. Thank you for those who are going to work each day to protect others or keep our economy running. And also for those who are doing their part by staying home. We pray for our loved ones who are hurting; whether they are sick, sad, lonely or discouraged, we pray for your healing power and your peace in their lives. Lastly, we pray for your perfect resolution to COVID-19, for your glory, so that we can praise you together again. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

God bless you,

Andrew Melo