Seven times in the gospels Jesus says,“Do not worry.”
(Matthew 6.25, 31, 34; 10.19; Mark 13.11; Luke 12.11, 22).
Paul wrote, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4.6). All Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
With Covid-19 in the news, we certainly “live in interesting times,” as someone once said. Grocery stores are packed. Supplies are flying off the shelves. Sports leagues have canceled their seasons. Universities have sent their students home. People who can work from home are doing so in greater numbers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), National Institutes of Health (nih.gov), World Health Organization (who.int), and state governments (mass.gov) are keeping their websites up-to-date with Coronavirus (COVID-19) information. Cities and towns are making decisions based on what they know about COVID-19. Religious institutions are taking the new virus seriously, too.
During the last several days, the leadership of our church, the First United Baptist Church in Lowell, has been absorbing information about the virus and making decisions day-by-day as new information becomes available. In light of what we learned, we decided yesterday to cancel today’s worship service. Worship is very important for all of us. So is getting together afterward to catch up with each other.
We do not know what new information will surface each week. Therefore, we do not know if we will need to cancel upcoming worship services. If we do, we will be sure to let you know. This week, in lieu of being together in worship, we can make use of other means of communicating with each other. Fortunately, there are many ways to communicate when we cannot be together in person: telephone (landline, cell, Apple’s Facetime, Facebook’s Portal, Google Duo), Facebook, Instagram, email, text, and of course, letters, cards, and postcards. Using the means available to us, we can keep in touch one way or another.
During these uncertain days, music can help. Especially the music of prayer. A popular praise song has these words in its lyrics, “Our God is an awesome God.” With that song in my head as if it is part of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, I am reminded of another playlist, the Psalms. During times of plenty and of want, people have turned to the Psalms for comfort and insight. Reading them as prayer songs, and singing them to your own melodies, can bring great joy. I invite you to try it.
As your pastor, I assure you that our leadership will remain on top of the news and continue to make decisions together regarding our church’s gatherings. We will communicate that information to you via email as well as via WCVB TV and WHDH TV. If you do not have email, and would like us to call you, please let us know. You can call or text me directly or leave a message with the church office. Closing information also is available online at wcvb.com (Channel 5) and whdh.com (Channel 7). (See below for specifics.)
By the grace of God, our faith community is very strong. The love of God we share is more than enough for all of us to get through our COVID-19 concerns together. I am praying for each of you by name, and invite you to do the same.
My Ruminations are sent out via email on Thursdays. If you would like to receive them, please call the church office (978-452-9281).
Remember, “Be of good courage” (1 Chronicles 22.13, 28.20, and 2 Chronicles 32.7).
On wcvb.com, you will find it under the Menu item “Closings.” After clicking on “Closings,” enter “First United Baptist - Lowell” in the “Search” bar under “Closings & Delays.”
On whdh.com, you will find it under “Closings-School Closings”. Under “School Closings” scroll down through the sub-headings “Public Schools” and “Private Schools,” to the sub-heading “Religious Education,” where you will find the houses of worship listed alphabetically.
Posted March 15, 2020
Rev Jim Sinclair
Pastor Jim is the minister for First United Baptist Church