Letter to the Congregation | August 28, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As anticipated, tomorrow in worship we will be following the state guidelines for masking indoors. Social distancing is not required, but we will continue with two services to create the opportunity for distancing for our own people and visitors if they desire it. Also, some of you may be encouraged to remember that last year we retro-fitted our heating and ventilation equipment with high-efficiency air purifiers. This addition, along with a 30-foot ceiling and open windows, means air quality in the sanctuary is better than it might be in a more confined space.
With state-permitted exceptions to the masking order for health and mental-health reasons, there will likely be people both masked and unmasked in worship. State regulations also allow those “engaged in… performance, leading religious services, or other similar activities” to go without masks. All of us know by now that churches have been filled with conflict over masking, so here are a few thoughts.
First, if anyone knew church conflict it was Paul, which is why he wrote, “I 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” (Eph 4:1ff). The judgment seat is an uncomfortable place for mere mortals. We encourage you to assume the best of others, grant them grace, and put the best possible construction on their actions.
Second, early on in the pandemic you may have been confident that your perspective on the various issues was clearly superior. However with time and wisdom, you hopefully came to see there were other (perhaps many other) legitimate perspectives and interpretations. At this point, it’s best for us to take the plank out of our own eyes and give ourselves to a careful, humble honoring of God, letting him pass judgment on intentions and actions if and when he chooses.
By far the most important thing is that we gather tomorrow to worship the living God, laying aside every weight and sin which so easily entangles. Don’t give the enemy a foothold, don’t let him into your head. Tomorrow belongs to God. It’s his day. A day of worship. Let’s defend that space, fight for it, make it all that it ought to be. Let’s do that this week, then the following, and the week after, and the week after that. And with time, after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
With love for you and for Jesus our Redeemer,
The Elders of CPC