Reflection by Rev. Elizabeth Aguilar, Senior Pastor
March 18, 2020
Dear Family of Faith,
May the grace and peace of Christ Jesus be with you all. I write to you during this first week of major change in our country and in our lives, due to the Covid-19 health crisis. I thought it was important to share with you some thoughts and information regarding our church life and ministry during this unprecedented time.
Here in this short letter you will find the following:
- a reflection from me
- some information regarding what our church is doing with and for our members
- a short message regarding giving
About two months ago I preached to you about the following scripture found below. I think it is very appropriate for us to look at it once again in an effort to remain connected to God as we remain connected to one another.
I realize that this crisis can make us feel much fear, uncertainty, loneliness, isolation, panic, anxiety, and the like. Those are valid and as human beings of course we will feel any of them at any given time. Yet, I have told myself and am sharing this with you as well, that we have a choice. We CAN indeed focus on all that overwhelms us right now or we can focus our gaze on Christ and ask what it is that He wants us to do at this time for the sake of our well-being, those we love and those whom we don’t know but are also His sons and daughters.
As such it is imperative that we do follow official health directives. It is also important that we prepare ourselves as best as we can not only with physical food but spiritual food, as well.
There are two scriptures that have helped me greatly during these troubling times.
The first is: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
The second scripture is from Philippians 4:4-8
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Both of these scriptures have helped ground me in three things: we belong to one body of Christ and therefore we much continue to help one another, and care for one another as best as we can. The second is this: I must focus on all the GOOD things that God has already given to us which do not go away. The third is this: that God desires that we live in peace and that peace is given to us once we come to God through prayer “with thanksgiving.”
Friends, this global health crisis WILL push us in ways that we haven’t been pushed ever before and it will be up to us, as followers and servants of Christ (His modern day disciples) to keep grounded in our Christian faith that tells us we belong to Him, we belong to one another, and that we are not alone even if we feel alone.
Please know that I am praying for every individual and family on our church roster. I invite you to do the same for one another so that God may indeed bless us, protect us and give us all that we need to do God’s good work for all of us. I love you and I am praying for you. God bless you with all that you might need according to God’s will for your life, at this time.
Peace to you, Pastor Liz
How Our Church is Responding to The Needs of Our Church Family
We have set up a “Care Team” who are ready to help with making phones calls to all of our members and also helping the members with any urgent needs that they might have. The Care Team is comprised of “Callers” and “Runners.” Someone will call you 1 time per week to see what your need is. They will then give your request to one of our “Runners” who will then attempt to find your necessary item in a store or on line. Prescriptions and very important grocery items. We realize that some of you are doing fine with needed items (thank God) but others might need more support in spiritual ways. The callers are there to pray for you on the phone and encourage you as well.
We are especially concerned for people who are already staying in their homes, our elderly members who are already shut in due to physical limitations, our sick members, and those who just cannot leave perhaps due to needing to stay at home to supervise a child or older member of their family. The runners have instructions to leave things for you at your door so as not to come in direct contact with you. We are trying to exercise social distancing as our government leaders and CDC have instructed us to do.
Our Church Facility is Closed for the Time Being However Pastoral Care Continues
We must keep our church closed for the protection of everyone. Pastors Liz and Victoria will be in the office now and then, as well as Amber, as needed. Some days we will also work from home.
*IF YOU NEED ANYTHING immediately, please call Pastor Liz at 617-359-9585 or Rev. Victoria (619) 436-9703 or call the church office as we will be checking messages every day. (619) 422-9263
We will hold worship “on-line,” on our church facebook page and on our web site. Once a week Pastor Liz will also send out recorded messages on email to everyone for whom we have an email address. It will also be available on our church web site. (www.chulavistachurch.com). Please stay tuned.
Schedule: Every Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. and Every Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. Pastor Liz will go “live” on Facebook. Or recorded messages will come to you via email. Please check our web site for updates as well.
Instructions for Facebook live: You will need internet capability. You do NOT have to have a Facebook account to watch. Simply go to Community Congregational Church Facebook and it will direct you to our “Facebook page.” Once there just click on “view.”
What We Can All Do:
During the Season of Lent, we are invited to reflect, pray, draw closer to God on our faith walk. These unusual circumstances will now offer many of us the ample time to do so. Please consider doing the following:
- Read scripture
- Listen to encouraging songs on the radio or internet.
- Pray for others, for yourself, for the world, for our Church. A simple way to pray is to follow this “formula” (ACTS= Acclamation, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication/ Praise God, Confess your sins, give God thanks, and then ask for your needs according to God’s will. End with the Lord’s Prayer.
- Meditate, remembering to breathe in God’s peace and exhaling God’s peace
- Exercise at your own pace and ability. As you do so pray every step you take.
- Fast- if it is safe for you to do so, take a morning or afternoon to fast. As you do so do the above spiritual disciplines
Remember friends that we ARE the Church: Do not hesitate to call upon one another and offer what ever support you can give. Even if you can not leave your own home do not underestimate the power of your voice, your prayers, and your encouragement for others.
A Message About Giving: Our church expenses continue. Please keep give your regular giving pattern by sending your tithes and offering through the mail. We also want to THANK ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE PLEDGED THIS YEAR TO OUR CHURCH! Please send your check to Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, 276 F. St. Chula Vista, CA 91910
We close with this prayer:
God of life, you give us life and hope. Be with us in the chaos of this time. Calm our fears, be the light for our path, and strengthen our trust in your promise never to leave or forsake us. We pray through Christ, in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.