Dear Church Family,
Greetings in the blessed name of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ!
Yesterday in a Zoom meeting with the Pierce County Health Director and other representatives of the county, sponsored by the Pierce County Chaplains, we had the opportunity to discuss what Phase II opening will look like for churches. Right now, we anticipate that Pierce will move into Phase II either later this week, or the first of next week.
As this takes place, we will be calling on you for help in various ways, so that we can begin having services at the church with certain limitations—stay tuned.
One of the worst riots in American History took place in New York City in 1863. Hundreds of people died and property damage was in the millions. It remains the deadliest riot in our history.
I only mention this to highlight something said by Solomon…
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.
There is a natural desire in the hearts of men and women to expect more from this world than is promised, and when we do so, we set ourselves up for bitter disappointment.
It serves us well, at times, to look at familiar things in a different way. For example, one of the most comforting passages in Scripture is this…
Revelation 21:2-4 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
This is the joy that every believer looks forward to; we pant after that day when all tears will be wiped away, when there will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain. You and I read those words and say, “Even so come Lord Jesus!”
But look at it from a little different angle for a moment. When will all this happen? When the former things pass away.
What does this passage say about the time that now is in this world? It is, because of sin and its impact on our world, a time of tears, a season when death in all its hideous forms reigns, a time of sorrow, a time of tears and a time of pain.
Because God is gracious and rules over all, we can expect some times of respite, but in general this is a time of pain and sorrow in the world. There will be wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, famines, and yes, riots in the streets. These things don’t end until the former things have passed away.
But you believer, even in this world of sorrow and pain, have promise of the life that is now and that is to come. We have peace with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a realistic view of the world in which we live. We pray for peace because we know that if men and women are left to themselves, they will destroy themselves (Lamentations 3:21-22 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.). We know, though we do not acknowledge it enough, that every moment of peace and joy in this world is a gift from God—a matter of His common grace at work They are not little triumphs of the human spirit, sparked by the basic goodness to be found in every man or woman. They are gifts from God, because He is good and merciful.
Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.
We do not look for a utopia to be established in this vail of tears as it is called. We look for a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness; a righteousness established in the Redeeming work of Jesus Christ and not the hopeless efforts of fallen men and women.
GENTLY, Lord , O gently lead us
Through this gloomy vale of tears;
And, O Lord , in mercy give us
Your rich grace in all our fears.
O refresh us,
Traveling through this wilderness.