Corona, Conscience, and Church

As we approach our first regathering as a church, it’s good to reflect on where we are and why all of this is happening the way it is. Let’s review how our congregation has dealt with this disease.

First, we have taken the Corona Virus outbreak seriously, and we have never denied its existence or downplayed its severity.

Second, we have followed the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania guidelines for “reopening” as we have progressed from “red to yellow to green.”

Third, we’re at green, and just as we followed the restrictions of red and yellow, we are following the freedom of the green.

Fourth, we still are taking precautions, the very precautions suggested for us by the CDC, including wearing masks when we are in movement or exchange areas, and social distancing when we are not, entering one door and exiting another, etc. We don’t for a minute think we should be letting down our guard or doing something foolish.

Now, having said that, we realize that some, perhaps many, are not comfortable as yet with re-entering public places, and so we will be live-streaming our worship gatherings for the foreseeable future, both on our web site AND to a separate viewing area in our auditorium. So you have three different ways to participate at three different levels.

And it is precisely here that your conscience comes in. We will not judge one another based upon when we return, and that is a two way street. If you choose to sit out the first few weeks, or even months, please don’t second guess those who are following guidelines of regathering the same way we followed guidelines of the lockdown.

God has given us minds, complete with consciences. And just as those who were eating meat were not to judge those who did not, the non-meat eaters were not to look down on those who enjoyed filet mignon.

Each person has his own level of comfort. So this is a perfect time for all of us to curl up with our favorite translation of Romans 14-15, make choices for ourselves and our families, and let others do the same. No one should feel pressured to conform, one way or the other. “Let everyone be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

Whatever you decide, we love you, and we respect your decisions.

“Father, we thank you for the glorious freedom we have in the gospel, and the gift of conscience as well. We pray for wisdom to make good choices, and the grace to love others who make different ones. In the name of Jesus. Amen.”

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