Hello church family, this is Pastor Phil.
This past week, despite the seriousness of what we are dealing with, I’ve really appreciated a number of videos on YouTube that have tried to bring some humor and give some lightness to what everyone is going through. Laughing at YouTube or with each other, doesn’t take away the difficulty of the situation, but often it can make a difficult situation a little easier to handle. (I’ve added a link at the bottom of our post today to a funny video I’ve enjoyed this week)
That’s important because what we’re seeing now is an increase in the stress that many individuals and families are feeling.
- Often this stress is coming from our mandated workers who are put into situations where they can get sick or they are on the frontline taking care of others. Like our mandated health care workers who are working with what they have, and often not enough equipment, all to care for the sick and hurting. The stress put on them comes back home. We don’t always have a good place to let that stress out so it comes out in being extra cranky and grumpy with each other.
- Families that are in quarantine or are simply just stuck at home with each other, like everyone else are feeling the stress as well. As families, I don’t know if all of us really know how to spend time together without getting really stressed out by each other. Before the virus came, we all were so, so busy. Every night was filled with a sports event or activity, we worked long hours, often ate on the go or in a hurry, maybe said goodnight if everyone else wasn’t already asleep. Of course, there is variations in the intensity of this, but I don’t know if we actually saw each other that much beforehand and now in the family unit’s we are seeing each other all of the time. I don’t think we’re used to it or that we’ve really had to learn how to spend this much concentrated time together.
- I’ve been thinking about those that are alone and don’t have family in the home with them. Their connections and community are often outside: family visiting, worshipping in their church family, the VFW and the Legion, and those other community groups that bring us together. Without being able to participate it brings a lot of stress and isolation to individuals.
- Finally, I’ve been thinking about the stress put upon those in leade rship and who are in authority. This is a unique time in our world, our nation, our state, our community, and our Church family. It has never happened like this before and quite honestly, from what I see, our leaders are really just trying to do their best in a situation where there doesn’t seem to be any perfect, 100% right answers. No matter what they do, someone and often lots of someones will be upset, think it’s the wrong choice, and want to do something different. I think about my fellow pastors, no matter what they do, someone will think it’s wrong. If they hold worship services they are called irresponsible and reckless, not caring about the health and safety of others. If they don’t hold worship services they are called faithless, bad pastors, and a disappointment. No matter what they do, it will be the wrong choice according to someone.
All of this stress drives me deeper into God’s Word and what our Heavenly Father says about how we can and should be treating each other, especially during times of high stress and difficulty.
First, how our Heavenly Father calls us to treat each other from Ephesians 4:1-3
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to 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.
This passage reminds us, especially now, to be intentional about the words we are using and the attitude we have. We’re going to want to take things out on the people around us, but we need to be determined to have a different spirit in us, a spirit of gentleness and patience, being intentional about how we treat each other.
For our rulers and authorities from Titus 3:1-3
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
I don’t know if we talk about the passages in the Bible that talk about how God wants us to relate to those who are in authority, but this is one of many of those passages that reminds us to treat our leaders with respect and to be submissive to them and the rules that they put in place for those they are in charge of.
For pastors, church fathers, and all of those in church leadership from Hebrews 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Your pastors are doing the best they can in this situation that is new to all of us. All of the pastors I know, are all simply doing the best they can in a lousy situation. Please don’t make it harder on them then it already is. Unless you’re in their role, most people don’t know what it feels like to carry the burden they carry for their people and how deeply they take those words to heart, that every pastor will be held to account for how they kept watch over your souls. So, please just love on your pastors, be kind to them, and listen to them because they are trying to do their best for you.
Finally, for perspective, a reminder that all of this will pass away, and what is to come is so much better than anything we know or experience here. So please, be kind to each other now, because there is nothing in this life that is worth stressing or arguing about when compared to the glory that awaits us. From I Corinthians 2:9:
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
My love and prayers to all of you and I’m looking forward to being together again soon.