Christopher Warrington, MDiv
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way
These are unprecedented times.
It's a cliché by now, I know, but it's true. As of the writing of this letter, there are 20,675,733 confirmed cases worldwide of COVID-19 1. The world over has been in varying degrees of quarantine and lockdown for the majority of the year. In the last 6 months, economic disparity; civil unrest, and overseas humanitarian crises have been happening on a regular basis. But, in the midst of such darkness and uncertainty, we know that God's light is always there, our "ever present help in times of trouble." 2
In years past, the Church, the Body of Christ here on earth, has been closed off within its own local silos of congregations. When the Body of Christ stops working together, the Work of the Holy Spirit is hindered. God does not want His Church sequestered; He wants the Church unleashed!
Acts 4 tells the story of the early days of the Church. This new band of Christians felt pressure from the outside until it was forced to break out of its comfort zones and spread to the surrounding areas. In Acts 4 it says:
"the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness."
'"And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.' 3
Following this prayer is a time of persecution, the first recorded martyrdom of a disciple of Christ and then the mass spread of the Church to surrounding areas. The Church was unleashed. They did not remain silent. They did not remain sequestered. They spoke "the word of God with boldness."
God has used our current dark time to shine light around the world. Local church congregations are finding ways to use current technologies to still preach the word and gather together in a virtual environment to worship, break bread and grow. Sermons are being heard around the world more regularly and to a greater extent than before. Small group Bible studies are living out the ideal that "where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them" 4 and are finding ways to continue their small group discussions in safety. Church leaders are bonding together across denominational differences to address the needs of at-risk neighborhoods, and they are reaching out loving hands to listen to the cries of the people. 5
TCC's mission is to highlight and support these connections (you'll read about them in our Unity Stories series), and to forge new ones via our programs and resources. Our Samaritan Bags program is about to be relaunched, and our team is working diligently on developing programs we'll announce later this year.
The Church is not being stopped, it is being unleashed. We are more interconnected then people think. We are a reflection of God's light in a dark world and if we stop sheltering that light, we can be unleashed into a bright healing force for the Lord.
2 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 46:1–2.
3 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ac 4:29–31.
4 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 18:20.
5 https://www.cityoffortwayne.org/fort-wayne-united-about-us.html (August 12, 2020 @ 11:50am MST)