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也许你听说过一个女人的故事,她收到了一条短信,说:“我在这里为你。” 马上,她回信说,这让她的感觉有多好。 她最近经历了这么多,并感谢她朋友的支持。 然后她承认,她失去了她的电话联系人,不知道谁在给她发短信。

回应是 “你的优步司机”。

有趣,但也告诉。

我不知道你怎么想,但我想每天收到一个 “我在这里为你” 的短信。 不是来自优步司机,而是来自上帝。

上帝在哪里? 尤其是现在股市是在过山车上,卫生纸突然是囤积的东西,都是因为 COVID-19 病毒正在蔓延。。像病毒一样。 就在我写这篇文章的时候,世界卫生组织刚刚宣布它是一种大流行病。 现在将是上帝显现的好时机。

在这些时刻,我们向上帝,或至少向教会求助。 还记得教会如何充满 9/11 后? 这场灾难并非如此。 在这种情况下,我们要违反希伯来书 10:25,放弃聚会的习惯,这似乎是不可避免的。 正如纽约时报所报道的那样,意大利已经发生了这种情况。 这样的事情发生在这里多久?

我们都试图控制它。 在过去的一周里,我洗了我的手比过去的一年多,不要让我开始新发现的启示,我多么经常碰我的脸。 每次我听到 "别碰你的脸",我的右脸颊痒,我摸我的脸。

在我的小学校,我们已经停止接触对方。 教堂里的和平每天过去,这是一个以握手和拥抱为标志的时代,已经被口头问候和挥手所取代。 我们的共享服务器已经在分发元素之前使用了清洁剂,现在我们正在谈论让他们戴手套。

我怀疑,额外的手消毒剂和不接触对方就足够了。 社会隔离是阻止冠状病毒传播的最佳途径。 在我们停止一起崇拜之前似乎是一个时间问题。 密歇根州立大学刚暂停亲自上课。 在卡尔文、希望和西方之前还要多久?

当卡尔文大学一周前在信仰和写作节上拉动插头时,似乎他们可能过于谨慎。 今天,随着密歇根州确诊病例的消息,他们的行动似乎是合理的。

随着学校停课,其他大型集会取消,礼拜服务似乎不可避免。 我想知道复活节是否会有教堂。

没有企业崇拜,信仰如何生存? 我不知道你怎么想,但我倾向于经历这一周失去我的信仰,只是通过礼拜的节奏和实践来恢复信仰。 崇拜的共同性质对我来说很重要。 有时候,当我们承认我们的罪,或者说出信仰的肯定,我会被社区扫荡。 我并不总是同意学说的每一个观点,但是听到坐在我身后的布拉德的声音,说这些话让我有可能说出来。

这对我来说意味着一些东西,新约的书信大部分都被送到社区。 我想保罗说,“我不是说你个人必须有基督的心,我的意思是你作为一个群体,有基督的心。” 当谈到教会时,整体大于其各部分的总和。 教会的信心大于个别成员的信心。

如果我们停止见面,我们会怎么样? 停止聚会作为一个社区? 停止互相连接? 正如我前面提到的那样,我们在哪里看到神在这里?

弗雷德里克·比克纳讲述了 911 晚上教堂里的一位演讲者的故事,他说:“有时这样的神是无用的。”

Buechner 的第一个想法是多么令人震惊,其次是多么勇敢,其次是多么真实。 “当恐怖发生时,我们不能利用上帝使它们失去发生,” 他写道,“我们不能利用光的洪水扑灭火灾,或者诗篇 23 在黑暗中找到回家的路。” (超越言语,84,85)

上帝真的没用吗?

我要上帝奇迹般地阻止冠状病毒 但是上帝并没有阻止 911 或者大屠杀或者前一段时间袭击纳什维尔的龙卷风。 他似乎不是在预防灾害的工作。 COVID-19 在这里,并且在它变得更好之前会变得更糟。 这会造成神学问题吗? 这不适合我。

我相信诗篇 23 实际上是我们如何在黑暗中找到回家的路。 “虽然我走过死亡的阴影之谷,你与我同在” 听起来很像 “我在这里为你。” 我不认为上帝永远不会抛弃我们 即使我不能去教堂,我也不会抛弃上帝。

我发现自己在想约翰 6,这是圣经中最令人难以置信的章节之一,以及耶稣和彼得之间难忘的交流。 耶稣吃了五千人,在这章开始的时候在水上行走,因此,许多人来想要使他成为王。 他退出,当人群赶上耶稣告诉他们,他们必须吃他的肉,喝他的血。 这些令人反感的想法丑闻很多人,谁再走开。 在这一点上,耶稣转身对门徒说:“你们怎么样?” 彼得的回答总是让我:“我们还要去哪里?”

当我们不能去教堂时,我们要去哪里? 这场危机可能是教会一个令人兴奋的机会。 被迫离开程序,我们需要找到新的方法来听到上帝。

也许我们可以开始一个新的实践,并发送短信给对方的代表上帝。 他们不会很长时间。 五个字会做到这一点:“我在这里为你。”

这会做到的。 我喜欢这样

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is a retired minister in the Reformed Church in America. He resides in Holland, Michigan.

12 Comments

  • Wonderful read. Thank you. Couldn’t you have mentioned NBTS as well?

    Lenten blessings to you.

  • stan seagren says:

    “I don’t know about you, but I tend to go through the week losing my faith only to have it restored by the rhythms and practice of worship.”
    Apart from the excellent commentary on the virus, these words are so brutally and self-compassionately honest!
    Let us pray we do see new opportunities for connection with God and each other in this time.
    A parishioner sent this:
    Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
    I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed. Ps 57:1
    Thank you Jeff!

  • mstair says:

    “Now would be a good time for God to show up.”
    “He doesn’t seem to be in the business of preventing disasters.”

    …unless He’s preventing even bigger ones we are simply not aware of …

    The mortality rate of “the current virus” is about 3.4%. But, about viruses … they mutate … capable of becoming more … or less lethal …
    Now that’s the kind of probability God can influence with minimal effort. Something we might suggest to Him in prayer …

    • Eric Van Dyken says:

      mstair, I was thinking the same thing on the prevented disasters. Funny thing about disasters that never happen, most of them we would not have known to freak out about. And of course plenty of disasters that we were prone to freak out about never happened either (Y2K anyone?).

      Even more importantly, every day he withholds his just punishment for sin is a day in which he prevents disaster. We have no idea just how much God’s grace prevents us from suffering.

  • Fred Mueller says:

    With you I thank God for the “voice of Brad” and the HS prompting him to confess our faith.

  • Henk Ottens says:

    Your good words add a much-needed perspective on these “interesting” times. Thanks for arranging them with your inimitable skill.

  • JIM KORTMAN says:

    This comment will ring true with another author here on the 12, as we share the same “Uncle Marinus.” Maybe I make this comment for JC Schaap’s benefit – as well as everyone else who may take comfort and direction.
    Approximately 33 years ago, I was sitting in the basement of the Calvin College Library visiting with my Uncle, Rev. Marinus Goote, who was employed as a curator of some from cataloging the history of the CRC. We were discussing my faith formation as I raided his M&M jar and drank his coffee.
    He asked me, “Jim, Psalm 23 is likely the most famous passage in the Bible, for sure in the book of Psalms. What is the most important single word in the Psalm?” As we discussed the various themes brought up, he lead me to a word I was not landing on – on my own. He stated “God is Sovereign, You are His, in all of this He is with you ‘through’ the process and trials of life.” The biggest take away being his presence, and whatever trial or challenge we are in, it is not the end of the journey. Only something we are passing through.
    A year later, when he married my wife and I, his text for the sermon was “Christ love compels me” from 2 Corinthians. That was to be and has become our married life’s verse. The point in the sermon – as we go “through” life, (married and all of life) may it be his love that compels our every action.
    As we are the Church, and find new ways to minister and support each other, Uncle Marinus’ charge for my life rings true today. We are on our way through this trial, and God is leading us through it.

    Blessings on your day as you reflect on God’s immense love for us – that he walks with us.

  • Harvey Kiekover says:

    A good word for us as concern heightens and restrictions tighten. I pray that we will not use God but I do pray that He will use us. Thanks for a meaningful and helpful blog.

    Harvey

  • RLG says:

    Thanks, Jeff, for an article that brings comfort for many Christians. For those who are not Christian, they look for and find comfort in a variety of other means – family, friends, fellow workers, etc. For those looking in from the outside at Christianity, it looks like Christians do a lot of rationalizing and justifying for the God of the Bible. We have an explanation (or many explanations) for why the Corona Virus is devastating countries such as China and Italy without God seeming to lift a finger. He is characterize in the Bible as a great God of strength who performs great feats of power and love, especially for his chosen people, but also for those not chosen. Jesus feeds a crowd of 5,000 and then 4,000 from a child’s lunch, as mentioned in this article. But today, as Jeff implies with tongue in cheek, he seems useless. Powerful in the Bible, but not so much today. Do you think Deism might have it right when it attests to a mighty God, but one who, since creation, is not personally involved in the affairs of this world or people’s lives. The reality definitely seems to support such a perspective. That would be a reasonable conclusion. But who has ever said Christianity is reasonable? Thanks, Jeff.

  • RLG says:

    Jeff, you ask, what are we going to do when we can’t go to church? Yes, forced out of our routines, we can find new ways to hear God. We can text messages to each other such as, “I am here for you,” and ‘pretend’ they are from God. Hmm!

  • Mark McCallum says:

    It boggles my mind, the amount of tap dancing you all have to do to somehow reconcile your faith to a deity that is clearly either unable or unwilling to intercede in a tradgedy of this magnitude. I am, in a sad way , impressed that you seem to actually be capable of doing it!

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