This past Sunday I attended our outdoor service at NDC. Originally, I was not at all planning on attending the service as we had planned on coming home on Sunday from the Outer Banks. Then Deb threw her back out on Wednesday, which very much curtailed our activities in the Outer Banks and resulted in our decision to drive back Saturday instead of Sunday, anticipating much less traffic. I still would not have attended the service, except there was a question regarding a ground’s use request that I needed to speak with the elders about. While attending the service I was masked and for the most part, stayed 10 to 15 feet behind everyone else and was sitting downwind. But I do want to apologize to those who were offended that I was at the service in violation of the governor’s two-week quarantine for people who had traveled to North Carolina.
While we were away for the six days in North Carolina our daughter Ashley was with us for most of the week and she was tested three times for Covid-19, as she was preparing to go and work at the MLS tournament in Orlando (where she currently is). During our time with Ashley, we shared the same airspace and shared and enjoyed much of the same food together. I was pretty certain that if Ashley tested negative 3 times during the week that we were also COVID negative. That said, it was a lapse of judgment on my part to be in attendance at the Sunday service. I have since been tested for Covid-19 and as I anticipated, the results came back negative. Praise be to our great Savior.
Jesus instructs His disciples, and I think His words have application for us, when He says, “Behold, I sent you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves”, (Matt.10:16 NKJV). Jesus’s words about being wise as serpents are very true for us today as we seek to manage this very difficult hour in time that we are passing through. It is so important that we allow the Lord Jesus Christ to speak into our lives and to be drawn closer to Him during these difficult times.
I would love to know what are some things that you have been struggling with over the last four months? I have been struggling specifically with three issues: first and foremost is the four months that I have not been able to see or be with my mom or spend any time with her. I last saw her on March 12th. I have continued to care for all of her needs from a distance as best I can. Since a fall in May my mom has been running into health problems, this is a very challenging time for me. Secondly, I miss my daily gym routine. For the last 13 years, before March 15, I would go to the gym regularly 5 or 6 times a week, around 5 AM each morning. I have tried to stay in some routine by setting up a little workout area in the basement of the parsonage and also in the basement of the church. The final thing that has been a great challenge to me has been guidelines and rules that have been so unevenly put into place by our governing authorities. I have had a great struggle seeing the clear and present discrimination against the church of Jesus Christ. I know we are told in Scripture to submit to governing authorities (Romans 13:1), but at times it’s been very difficult to do that given the consistent bias against churches and those who do not hold to politically correct views. Pray for me that my heart would be open to God’s leading in this matter.
In the meantime, let us practice wisdom and prudence and following safe and sanitary health practices. I mentioned earlier my working out at the gym, but I must acknowledge that even when the gym reopens sometime in the future, I’m not sure I will be attending, because that is obviously one of the more dangerous places with a lot of sweaty bodies and heavy breathing going on. Last Wednesday night I wanted to soak in the hot tub at the resort we were staying at. When I got down to the hot tub there were at least 10 unmasked people crowded next to each other, where the sign read, “limit six”. That was just plain foolish, and it was not a safe place to be. We generally chose only places that practiced safe social distancing (see pictures). Again, I believe everything is in God’s hands, but you and I should also practice prudence and wisdom in our sanitary habits.
This Sunday morning our worship service will be at 9:15 outdoors and our elder Dave Stawick will be bringing the message. Next Sunday at 11 AM as we move towards resuming some level of normal ministry function, we will be indoors for our first regular worship service. If you can’t attend our 9:15 outdoor service, join me for the streaming service at 11 AM. Hope to see you soon as we prayerfully move towards normalcy at NDC.
In Christ’s service,
Pastor Rich Sivo