These past few months have been crazy. Who would have anticipated that March of 2020 would usher in a pandemic, shutting down our lives and causing sickness, and even death, for so many? My initial emotions in March were heavy and hard to wade through. And now, in early June, I feel exhausted, worn out, and hungry to meet again as a church. Just as every business and industry has had to sort through what it looks like to reopen, at Christ Community Chapel we have spent countless hours discussing, researching and considering all that we know about this virus and the best ways to move forward.
What we believe is that it pretty much boils down to this. . . Love Matters Most. How fitting that Love Matters Most has been our theme for this year. Through our sermon series, we have looked at Matthew 22 when Jesus was asked the question: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus responded to the man, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Coming back together to meet as a church is about those two things: loving the Lord and loving others. This means loving those who are most susceptible to COVID-19 while also loving those who are craving the hope that Jesus offers and those who long to meet together.
1) While we don’t have all of the answers (not sure that anyone has all the answers right now!), we have established some values that can get us started.Gathering together as the church is biblical and vital for every Christian. While being together in person cannot be replaced by an online service, we realize there are some for whom it is best to stay home due to their vulnerability to COVID-19. It is for that reason, that we remain committed to providing excellent online services. We can demonstrate our love for God when we gather to worship, and we will love our neighbor well by offering an alternative to meeting in-person with our online option.
2) Having our doors open allows us to be most effective in sharing the hope of Christ with our region. It is our desire as a church to be available to those in our region who are not yet Christians. CCC is here in Hudson, Ohio for a reason. Being open and available to our neighbors that need the hope, grace and freedom that Jesus offers is of high value to us.
3) We have a responsibility to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment. While we are still waiting a couple of weeks to establish the exact parameters of how we will meet together, we have been making improvements to the building to allow for a safer worship service experience. We have converted our bathroom facilities to have touchless sinks and toilets. We have sanitization equipment that can be used between every service. Because of technology, we have the wonderful option to give online instead of needing to pass an offering plate. And, we have pre-packaged communion that can be picked up on your way into service. We will communicate additional steps in the coming weeks but know that we want our in-person services to be safe and great.
Around every corner is an opportunity to disagree. This pandemic has created multiple viewpoints and we all tend to be passionate about our own point of view. But, because Love Matters Most, I would encourage us to think about this: Instead of responding with hostility to situations, people, or viewpoints with which we disagree, we can choose grace and love. It is now, more than ever, that we can look to Jesus. He is our comfort through sickness, our peace through deep grief, our hope in anxiety, and the one who can calm our fears.
Let’s get back to church. I can’t wait to see you there.
Written by Stacey DiNardo, CCC’s Executive Director of Staff & Development