By now you are probably aware that the Alberta government has imposed a new round of health restrictions in response to rising COVID-19 cases.
I know that this announcement has the potential to cause frustration and anxiety in our midst. My prayer for us is that these trying times would serve as a reminder that our hope and our peace are not rooted in our earthly circumstances but in Christ, who said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). My pastoral exhortation to you all is that, as we worship together on Sundays, as we pray for one another, as we meet together to encourage and exhort one another, we would show love for one another both before a fearful and watching world, and also before “the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10).
How do we do that, especially when there are different opinions about how we should respond to this new situation? By being the church. We “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3); we “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2); we “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15); “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
In light of the government’s announcement, here is how our services and activities are affected: We will continue to run our 10:00am Remembrance Service, our 11:00am Family Bible Hour, and our Sunday School, which starts back up this Sunday, September 19. We will have to maintain physical distancing and wear masks for the time being. And it looks like the restrictions will put a pause on our Fellowship Meal. But we worship a God who is in sovereign control over all things and who is good to us. With that, let me close with Paul’s prayer to the Ephesian church in Ephesians 3:14-21:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Pastor Brenden Peters
September 17, 2021