2020 Pastoral Sharing in Restrospect
– Rev. Sam Wong, February 2021
Zeteo: the Biblical Greek word for seeking. This is a monthly faith reflection piece from different members of our community. May we seek first His kingdom in the way we draw reflection from our lives and the way we engage with the world around us.
A church that is “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”.
As a pastoral staff, the year 2020 is a year which I incredibly miss the flock of the church. In the days when we cannot meet in the church as usual, most of us can only make contact online or by phone, which greatly increases the difficulty of pastoral care. However, even under various restrictions, we have never stopped worshiping, fellowships, small groups, and Sunday schools. These are the protection and provision of God, and the effort of brothers and sisters faithfully fulfilling their duties. Thus, I would like to offer to God in spirit and in truth my sincere praise to Him; and I would also like to thank the brothers and sisters who have dedicated themselves to maintaining church ministry during the epidemic.
From the perspective of building a spiritual community, online worship is by no means the best method to meet. Some members may also reduce their participation in worship or other gatherings because they do not like this method. However, the epidemic itself is an undesirable situation. In an undesirable situation, we can only choose better option among undesirable options. The Lord Jesus taught us to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16), which is to be flexible and agile when it comes to things that can be flexible and have workarounds, and to be firm and uncompromisable on things that must be persisted to the end. The method of worship and gathering can be changed according to environmental constraints, but worship gathering itself is what need to be persisted. We must not persist on things that have flexible workarounds; and give up on things that should be persisted to the end.
The calling of the church, as the lampstand of society, as the salt and light of the world, is most impacted under social gathering restrictions. In the case of trying to “stay” at home as part of epidemic prevention measures, how can anyone practice the “go” of the Great Commission? In the future “new normal”, the work of the church will definitely need to be adjusted due to changes in people’s behavioral patterns after the epidemic. 2021 will be the year when the church needs to prepare for social change. Pray that God will lead the members of the church, giving us humble and open hearts to accommodate each other on things that can be flexible and have workarounds; and be united, firm, and uncompromised on things that should be persisted to the end. Under the new normal after the epidemic and the great prelude of the immigration/returning tide, I wish all VCBC brothers and sisters to live out in unity the call “To raise up generations of Christ followers and disciple makers.”
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
Rev. Sam Wong