Being the Church through COVID-19

by Pastor Van Kley

One of my all-time favorite church quotes came from Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of ELCA Global Mission. While preaching at my internship congregation, Rev. Malpica Padilla said, “God’s Church doesn’t have a mission; God’s mission has a Church.”

This is time for us to remember that the Church is not a building. So while we grieve (and oh, do we grieve!) that we cannot be physically together for a while, we can still be the Church during this time of isolation. We have an opportunity to re-focus on what God’s mission really is – to bring good news of abundant life and salvation to all the world. So how can you share, and receive, the good news at such a time as this? Here are some ideas to help you be the Church…

Within PRLC:

  • Think about the people you usually interact with on a Sunday morning, and call them to check in.
  • Think like the apostle, Paul, and send letters! A note of encouragement can go a long way. Especially remember our elders, parents of young children, teachers, health care workers, emergency responders. If you need contact information for other PRLC members and do not have a copy of our directory, contact the office so we can send you one.
  • Many of you went through The WAY long ago. Consider checking in with your former sponsor or candidate, or your confirmation mentor/mentee.
  • Join our PRLC Community Facebook page and sign up for our email list to receive daily devotional reflections, sermons, prayer lists, and good conversation.

In the world:

  • Pray through the newspaper or other media feed. Using a sung or spoken Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy) as you scroll through headlines is a lovely way to pray for the needs of the world.
  • If you are healthy and able to safely volunteer, consider what local opportunities to serve people exist near you. Edible Hope at St. Luke’s Episcopal in Ballard is still serving meals to neighbors without homes. Our food bank is also open, and may need additional supplies or volunteers. See Patrick’s message for details.
  • Pray for elected leaders and those making difficult decisions on a daily basis.
  • Follow the recommendations being given by health experts. No matter what your opinion is, this is a time to be good stewards of community.

In your own journey:

  • Now is a good time to re-discover your Bible. Do you need a Bible or a Children’s Bible in your home? Let us know and we will get one to you.
  • Take your cue from the birds, and sing hymns! If you don’t have a hymnal at home, consider purchasing one from Augsburg Fortress or contact the church office for a loaner.
  • Visit our website often for updates and prayer/worship resources.
  • Take a walk, sit outside, or create a personal home altar (there are tons of online resources for this). In whatever way works for you, find a place where you can ground yourself and connect with God. During this time, reflect on what you have to be grateful for. Gratitude is a wonderful antidote to worry.
  • Sabbath rest is good, too. If you don’t read, meditate, volunteer, work, or teach your kids today, Jesus still loves you. Be gentle with yourself.