“When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and [the Lord] brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deuteronomy 26:6-9
The Old Testament of the Bible includes a book of law called Deuteronomy, which gives the history of our Christian faith and how we should live. It includes the history of Jesus’ ancestors, the Jewish people, and how they suffered terribly. The people of Israel were deported, taken into slavery, ultimately exiled, and roamed, lost in the desert.
Dealing with the fires in this time of pandemic is making our lives, and the lives of many others, extremely challenging. Some of us feel lost, too!
This of course is why we need each other now more than ever. It’s why these days we worship God virtually through our weekly Online Gatherings, and witness to God’s saving grace in whatever creative ways we can come up with. It’s why Jesus makes all the difference, especially now. Our lives include hard times, and we need help—holy help that is! These Bible stories of faith give us courage to face these disasters. In God’s love, we can begin to leave our pain and messed-up selves behind.
No wonder this Scripture from Deuteronomy speaks to us. We could use a land flowing with milk and honey about now! Not in excess, but at least enough to get by and share with our neighbors. Which brings us to our survey.
Reopen Church Survey Results In! What Happens Next?
Thank you to the 50+ people who responded to our Reopen Church Survey about returning to in-person worship and programs. Our leaders will be meeting to review the data, offer their feedback, and lay the groundwork for our next steps. Here are a few highlights of our survey results:
- We had survey respondents in every age category from Under 18 (11%) to 75+ (26%).
- 100% of you who’ve worshiped with us online indicated that this experience has met or exceeded your expectations.
- When we asked when you would feel comfortable coming back to in-person worship, 10% said “Immediately,” 6% said about now (August or September,) 52% ranged from later this year to April 2021, and 26% said longer than a year from now.
- 64% who took the survey indicated they would not return to an in-person worship service until there was a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 becomes widely available.
This week, Governor Newsom announced that California has a new “Four Tier” blueprint for reducing COVID-19 with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities, as directed by the California Department of Public Health. Our Bishop Minerva Carcaño has also confirmed that our Cal-Nevada Conference protocols for reopening are still in place, and all local church plans must be approved before implementation.
We will adhere to these guidelines.
In the meantime? This is God’s holy ground, and God’s holy church. And whether you realize it or not, we are God’s holy people. All of us. A broken, lost people, in need of redemption, and God’s help.
We have much to be thankful for, even in this time of fires, evacuations, the pandemic, and other disasters. We have each other. And what about the riches of our lives? What are we to do with our bounty? Share it with others, that’s what! Starting with the first fruits. They go to God.
This is the promise and affirmation of salvation. This is what we mean by a land flowing with milk and honey. You my friend are standing on holy ground. Thank God!