By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
- Psalm 65:5-8
I’m sure many of you have heard by now that in a few weeks (barring an unforeseen spike in cases), the county is going to lift the ban on indoor worship, and we will once again be allowed to fellowship at the church building with masks and social distancing. I am tremendously encouraged by this positive step forward, though I’m still longing for the day that the restrictions will be lifted entirely and our gatherings can go “back to normal”. It was in this spirit that I attended the public meeting with the county supervisors and our public health officer Tuesday morning. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, as I had never been to a Santa Clara county supervisors meeting before, but I left extremely encouraged. Let me tell you why:
Because Christ reigns!
I have tried to emphasize, since the beginning of the pandemic, that *how* we conduct ourselves is the most important thing in our response to our circumstances. Living as faithful and fruitful servants of Christ in unprecedented situations can be difficult, and opportunities for the flesh and the devil abound. And as various pastors and elders began addressing the county officers, I was concerned about the kind of witness we would display both to our government and to the watching public.
I was wrong to be concerned.
I listened to pastor after pastor—and church member after church member—from local churches all over Santa Clara county, graciously and respectfully ask the county to bring our county guidelines into agreement with the less restrictive guidelines of the state. Many affirmed their gratitude for our local leaders and emphasized that they were praying for them. Pastors from all different sorts of churches (big, small, ethnic, multicultural, etc.) all were living out their vocations as citizens in a way that reflects the goodness and kindness of Jesus Christ (Eph 5:1-2).
It turns out that despite all the strange twists and turns of 2020, the Lord is still sanctifying His people for holiness. His gospel is still on the church’s lips. Christ is still showing up in the privacy of people’s interior lives. He is still ministering to people in the secret places of their hearts and minds as they have struggled with the county health order, while trying to remain loving neighbors and good citizens. Christ still reigns, and today his people bore witness to that reign in God-glorifying ways.
The One whose joy made the mountains is still the living God, working wonders in the midst of His creation. Keep your primary focus on Him as you seek to live out your calling as citizens of this county. I look forward to seeing you all for indoor, in-person worship very soon. I would encourage you to give thanks today, “always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:20).