I want to take a moment and write about choices.
First, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind (disciplined mind). 2 Tim 1:7.
Quickly, that means we are motivated by faith, the power of the Holy spirit and wisdom (disciplined, sound mind) and NOT FEAR. We also believe in obeying the authority God places over us...and so at the very least we will follow the dictates of our Governor and President.
As of last Sunday morning no numerical limitations had been set on the size of gatherings. This means we made our choices based on faith, love and wisdom. There is another dynamic to consider - FREEDOM. In a spirit of faith and love we need to allow others the freedom to make choices different than ours - within the clear recommendations from the CDC.
Michael and I have lived through natural disasters before (Japan's Tsunami Quake, Alaska's Quake). We observed a sad dynamic in Misawa which we are doing all we can to avoid in THIS situation. We were given choices in Misawa. Families could choose to go back to the states or stay in Japan. Each family considered their dynamic and many prayed as they made their decision. We did not make the same decisions. Shortly those who left were saying those who stayed were unwise, fool-hardy, using up Japan's national resources...and those who stayed were saying those who left were cowardly, trying to get a "free vacation" et al. It was sin on both sides. We are not called to judge one another. When we came back as a community it was hard to get back to our former level of intimacy. Some shared they couldn't forget the comments another had posted online and they kept thinking "They think I am......"
Motivated by love, faith and power, let's give each other the freedom to make choices for their families within the recommendations we all abide under.
Sunday some states were closed down. We were not. Our Governor had not limited the size of gatherings. Our schools were shut down. This is what our family did.....
BreZaak stayed home from all gatherings.
We asked Dad to consider and pray about staying home. He is in the high risk category....and he is still not insured. I have been trying to get a PIECE OF PAPER from Healthnet of Oregon since November. They have to send me a paper saying they cancelled him as he moved out of their area, before the new insurance company will grandfather him into their policy. They've dragged it out so long, I've had to start all over again with the new company. SO....he has no insurance and if he gets sick or needs treatment, it is all out of pocket. Dad stayed home on Sunday.
Stacia has had a cold. She stayed home - distancing as far as we can in the home...and disinfecting often throughout the day. I've long quarantined sick children...even bringing them a portable DVD player to keep their germs contained. With a family of 11 - we lived in an endless cycle of germs until I discovered the benefits of quarantine. LOL
Alex chose to go to church. Nolan stayed home. Krista, Michael and I went to church. Michael was preaching. Krista was working with children and I needed my people.
CoRielle stayed home from church. Cory is a manager at Fred Myers and must go to work, even when others are told to stay home. They didn't go to church as they wanted to come over to our home for the evening and didn't want to chance picking anything up that would be carried to Dad. Cory went home and showered and probably sprayed himself with Lysol before donning a hazmat suit and joining his family at our house. ::snort::
We decided, as ministry leaders, not to offer mid-week events while the kids are out of school. We'll follow the recommendations the schools are following. Then Sunday we heard group sizes limited to 50, and now 10...and so we will abide by those...but even within those there is room for personal choice. Some will continue to have small groups, some will not. Some will meet for coffee one on one, some will not....
My point....as we EACH pray and seek God we should be quick to listen to the Holy Spirit, quick to answer in faith and quick to give each other the freedom to do the same. I have two high risk members in my home; others may be healthy 20 years olds and feel they CAN have a small group in their home as long as they have less than 10 in attendance. It would be FEAR for me to pretend I am not being prompted to be cautious during my prayer times. In other words, we can't always tell as we observe others if a reaction is fear or faith - and it probably isn't my concern anyway.
Let's be kind to each other. Let's be the ones showing consideration and love when we are at Costco (or Freddies as the case may be). Let's walk in faith, love, wisdom and freedom. We have a great opportunity to bring God's peace, love and joy into a very concerned population. Let's be salt and light. Let's be the church.