“Only be strong and very courageous,
being careful to act in accordance with
all the law that my servant Moses
commanded you; do not turn from it
to the right hand or to the left,
so that you may be successful
wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7
Dear Church Faithful:
As Joshua is about to lead God’s people back into the promised land after their long exile in the wilderness, God gives him a command, to be sure to follow the law that Moses had given them. He says, “do not turn from it to the right or to the left so that you may be successful.” God is cautioning Joshua and his people about the upcoming dangers that await them in the Promised Land. There are enemies that will want to harm them and destroy them. There will be temptations to lead them into unsafe paths and to fall away from the ways of faith. So, God warns them to not turn to the left or to the right but to follow the laws he has given them so that they will be safe and successful in all ways.
This standing at the edge and about to reenter into the holy land makes me think of St. Mark about to begin once again worship in the building. Yes, we haven’t been in exile for 40 years wandering in the desert, but we have been exiled from God’s church for this fourth month. Yes, we are not facing the walls of Jericho and the city states of Canaan, full of armies out to get us, but we do have the threat of infection and viruses still lurking that can harm and kill.
We stand seeing our return to in-building worship on Father’s Day weekend and see the new possibility. But we have to listen to the guidance and the commands to not be swayed, to be strong and not waver right or left giving in and forgetting how to stay safe. Since the beginning of March, we have learned a lot about infectious diseases and viruses. The threat is still out there, it has not gone away. As we prepare to return to worship on June 20th and 21st, we must hear those words and take them to heart. Be strong and be careful.
Enclosed in this newsletter are two pages outlining how we will proceed back into worship. We must be strong and careful listening to those guidelines and following them. If you are sick stay home. Wear a mask. Keep the social distancing. Sit in the designated pews (Green for Saturday and Blue for Sunday). Don’t touch your face or mask. Use the hand sanitizers. If sick stay home. This is just a few, but worth noting to keep safe.
I am excited, as I hope some of you are, to re-enter the worship in the St. Mark building. But just as Joshua was warned to be careful when he led the people into the Holy Land, we must be careful and follow the guidance as we return to worship. Please read the guidelines enclosed in this newsletter and do not be swayed but be safe.
In the peace and grace of God,
Pastor Kirk Griffin