by Mike Clemmer, Conference Leadership Minister
Recently, I have been drawn towards a particular word in several scriptures. I have found the word to be helpful as I process the effects of the coronavirus on the church. As it pertains to our faith, it is a word that has been overlooked or taken for granted. But it is an important word for us to reflect on now. Consider.
“Consider” was often used by the Psalmists as a plea for God’s attention or focus on their human experience. They wanted God to know their plight: “Oh Lord, consider my affliction…” (Ps. 119) or simply asking God to “…consider me.”(Ps. 9) Perhaps this is our hope, that God would intervene in our lives and remember us in our times of distress. But what are the things that we ourselves should consider?
Do we really consider God’s love for us through God’s handiwork of creation? In Luke 12, Jesus reminds us to “consider the ravens” and how God cares for them. In Matthew 6, we are told to “consider the lilies of the field in all their splendor.” Have we considered that God cares for us so much more than these?
What about God’s miracle of our own human bodies? When we breathe, eat, think, choose, see, and hear – do we consider that we have been created by God to do these things? Perhaps David was considering these things when he wrote, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” (Ps. 139:14, NASB) I wonder at times, does my soul know it well? Do I consider it?
As Christians, we are also called to consider others. I have been encouraged by the ways our conference churches are working at new possibilities of loving our neighbor. Churches are adapting to new forms of worship and are learning that community can be built virtually. Out of necessity, new gifts have been called out and practiced by persons in our churches. Creative ways of meeting physical and emotional needs of our communities have sprung forth.
Consider for a moment the impact of finding ways to provide food for our communities and the consideration shown to our sisters and brothers through the Shalom fund giving.
Perhaps the greatest consideration has been the way the church has been challenged to reassess its purpose and vision for ministry. This has not been easy. Idols of control and power have been exposed, pressure has been increased on church leadership, and political agendas have come into play. We need to look to God for direction and wisdom in how we move forward. Have we considered our great need for prayer during this time?
Despite the anxiousness of our times, I have been inspired that our conference churches have worked hard to keep dialogue open and positive. Ultimately, we have rallied together around the common theme of bearing with one another and loving others as Christ has loved us. We have been forced to engage in long overdue, but necessary conversations about the work of the church. Who are we and why do we exist? Do we exist for our own benefit or for others? What should worship look like for us moving forward?
There are a lot of things to consider these days. Among them, God is still, and always will be, calling us to be communities of faith that care for one another. Most importantly, God’s church is alive and well. Consider that!