Dearest Hope Family,
As we double-down on dying and rising with Jesus – on believing and becoming the Gospel – in these bizarre and demanding days, I am thrilled to announce two very ordinary ways we can gather together (though scattered) and make room for God’s grace to be magnified in our lives:
Ministry of the Word
We are, as of this evening, under some sort of order to shelter in place or stay at home. Like many of you, I was immediately concerned about the sliver of normalcy we achieved by livestreaming the worship service from Hope last Sunday. Was that now on the chopping block? Would we have to resort to civil disobedience? If the ABC store is considered an essential business, surely we could get some allowance for a few folks broadcasting a church service!
I called the Mayor’s office for some clarity, and much to my surprise a live person picked up the call on the second ring and gave me clarity and a thumbs up for us moving forward with our skeleton crew livestreaming the service!
Therefore, the Ministry of the Word at Hope will carry on this Sunday! We will not have to be antinomian scofflaws, though I know some rebels in our midst were hoping for some action this week. We have instructions for joining the livestream below as well as the Order of Worship and some supplements for children. The same suggestions from last week still stand: set apart the time with your household to join the service and be as active a participant as you are able.
Many thanks to Tom Roth and Michael Kuehn who have gone the extra mile to improve the sound quality, the video quality, and some of the aesthetics for round two. I asked Michael and Tom if they could, also, improve the preaching quality in terms of depth, power, and length. Alas, it turns out that some things are simply beyond their mortal powers.
As the intensity of the crisis grows and the stakes are higher and higher for everyone, we earnestly desire to unite our congregation in a vigil of prayer, with a particular focus upon the medical professionals who are on the frontlines and facing decisions and demands none have dreamed of facing before. Vigils such as the one we are proposing join us together (though we are dispersed) in communal lament and effectual intercession.
We are inviting everyone in the Hope Church community (and anyone else who’d like to join in) to commit to praying two times each day, after the pattern of Psalm 92: 1-2: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord . . . to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night.” Using the hopeful words of Jesus from John 10:10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly”, we invite everyone to pause at 10:10 AM and 10:10 PM to pray. Pause for a moment and pray for the stop and slow of the virus, for the healthcare professionals in the fight, for the medically vulnerable and compromised in our midst, for the jobless and furloughed in our community, and for the Gospel to go forth with power for everyone.
We have also put together as complete a list as possible of medical professionals in our church. We are asking Life Groups to commit to praying for the medical professionals in their groups daily and to have some weekly checkpoint for them (if it is helpful and feasible). For folks not currently in a Life Group, we have asked an existing group to adopt you for prayer and support.
We ask that you start this vigil today and go for as long as it takes! We will have more details to come.
Lastly, please let us know how to pray for you, what needs you have, and how we can be of encouragement or offer a listening ear.
Peace of the Risen Savior,