Dear Christ Church,
Last Sunday we gathered for public worship in six open-air spaces around the city. There was a palpable joy in being together for these smaller worship services, something vital and distinct and Spirit-filled about the moment. I felt the raw power of a few simple elements God has given us: Word, sacrament, outdoor creation, each other. I looked forward to the possibility of doing it again this Sunday.
However, the rapidly changing situation requires us to act with extra caution. The City of Austin has also required that all community gatherings of 10 or more people be cancelled through at least May 1st. Here are a few changes in light of that:
- This Sunday, and for the foreseeable future, we will begin live streaming service…. We’ll send you further details and a link to connect soon. At this point, we are not projecting how many weeks this will be the case.
- Other church gatherings, including small groups, should not meet in person. Thankfully in this moment of history, technology still allows us to connect through phone, messaging, online, and video calls. Let me encourage you to reach out by phone and video-conferencing, not just written communications. We need to hear each other’s voices and see each other’s faces. We’re working on some opportunities to creatively engage in Intentional Worship, Community, and Whole Life Discipleship, (3 of our Core Values) so expect updates soon!
- Christ Church staff has been given the option to work from home, and the office will be closed to the public. We will still be answering the phone or checking voicemail remotely, and will continue to receive mail.
Just as we were stripped last Sunday of all but the bare essentials, yet creatively worshipped God, so will we continue to be an active church in the weeks ahead. We are in this together, and even though we are temporarily separated by physical distance we are united as the body of Christ. Just as with every previous generation of the church, our vocation is to love God and our neighbor, in whatever historical conditions we find ourselves. This unprecedented disruption does not simply “push pause” on our worship, formation, mission, and community. These unprecedented conditions provide the very soil from which our adaptive worship, formation, mission, and community take place in 2020.
Here are some prayerful questions for the week:
- Lord, how can I worship you in gratitude this week, for your provision, protection, and beauty displayed in the context of trial?
- Lord, how do you want to use these circumstances to refine me, shape me, and transform me more into the likeness of Christ?
- Lord, how do you want to use me to share the gospel with someone, extend a bold invitation, serve a practical need, love a neighbor, or intercede for someone?
- Lord, how can I press even more intentionally and creatively into relational connection?
I’m praying for you, the people of Christ Church! I am especially mindful in prayer this week, not only for those most physically vulnerable to the Coronavirus, but also for health workers on the frontlines, and everyone who is suffering loss of job or income.
Grace and peace,
P.S. If you were unable to worship at one of the six locations last Sunday, you can hear the service and sermon here.