A Message from REACH SA

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John Piper offers six biblical answers to the question, What is God doing through the corona virus? Reminding us that God is at work in this moment in history.

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An update on Gatherings under Level -3

(28th May 2020)

The Bishops and senior leadership of REACH-SA are convinced that the current risk factors outweigh the benefits of limited public gatherings.  We therefore do not support a return to public gatherings at this stage.  We appeal to our churches to forego this small freedom in the short term out of loving concern for the lives of others.

Our Concerns:

Infections are still risking.
High risk groups will be exempt from services.
Home churches are not considered the same as a Sunday Service.
Issues around cost & management of deep cleaning / social distancing.

Levels 4 & 5

We may return to levels 4 and 5 at any time.  Sunday Services are not permitted under these levels.  Sunday Sermons are regularly emailed out to the congregation.  To get onto that distribution list please contact your church leadership.

PASTORAL CARE

if you are in need of any pastoral assistance please get in touch with any of the church leadership.  The building may be closed but the church is still working.

FINANCES

We encourage our members to maintain their tything even though we are not meeting.  

FUNERALS

Funerals cannot be avoided, but special attention will be given to the government parameters and regulations for hygiene.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We are unlikely to do Sunday church in the normal way for a long time! Let us be in prayer, trusting that the Lord will use this crisis to draw people to Himself.  Pray that He will also unite God’s people in the task, even in the midst of this forced separation.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea (Ps. 46:1-2).

Living in a foreign land

AUTHOR: Jaki

You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you  (Psalm 91:5-10a)

I received a screenshot of these few verses from Psalm 91.  It angered me (not just because I hate spam), but because it actually says nothing about my faith at this time – it seems to indicate that if I trust in the Lord then Covid-19 will not come near to me!  It is an empty promise because Covid-19 has already come to me. 

I fear because I’m in a country where the
government hospitals couldn’t cope before the virus, I fear because many of the
people I know are extremely vulnerable to the disease.  I fear because my family is far away and I
can’t do anything to help them (my Mom is at risk and my nephew’s partner is
due to give birth at any moment).  I fear
because the German volunteers left for home yesterday.  These are scary times!

How do I allay those fears?  Well Psalm 91 does actually tell me, if I
read the whole Psalm.  It tells me that
“whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the
Almighty” (v1).  Even the first verse
tells me that if I dwell with God, I will find rest (even though it’s dark in
his shadow).  In the cool, dark shadows I
am to trust Him because “He is my refuge and my fortress (v2)”.  I can’t trust in social distancing, nor can I
trust in doctors, nor science, nor the government.  But I can trust in God because he is faithful
(v4).  God promises that during the dark
times he is with those who trust Him “I will be with him in trouble, I will
deliver him and honour him.  With long
life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (v15-16). 

Death is an ever present reality and we
will each and every one of us see it.  It
is both God’s mercy and judgement.  It is
a mercy because we should never be made to live for an eternity in this broken
world and it is a judgement on all who reject God’s rule – if you don’t want
God in your life now why would you ever want to go heaven and spend an eternity
with Him there? 

I thank God for my salvation, for my faith and for the fact that even though I am fearful I can turn to him in that fear and remind myself that he is in control (even of this virus), that he loved me enough to die for me, and that he is ‘with me’ not just here with the virus, but whenever I pass through any of those dark places