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When a pastor isn't allowed to go to church

It’s a weird thing when a pastor isn’t allowed to go to church. That’s the unique situation I found myself in this past weekend. A family member’s exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 meant our entire household had to self-quarantine until we get the results back.

Thankfully, we all seem to be in good health, though we’re still waiting for test results. We’ve kept busy. Our dishwasher broke last week so until the new one is delivered we’ve been doing dishes by hand. Here’s a fun fact: my 2-year-old daughter uses, approximately, seven metric tons of dishes, cups, plates and silverware over the course of a typical day. She also, apparently, likes to use the underside of the bed in the guest bedroom as a strategic stockpile for sippy cups half full of milk. Judging by the milk’s temperature and viscosity, she’s been doing this for, oh, at least three weeks.

So, yeah, we’re doing great.

But you know the highlight of this self-quarantine for me? A Sunday morning when, frustrated by my absence at church and just kind of grumpy, I jumped on to a Sunday School Zoom class and then a live-streamed worship service. I was reminded of the real persecution and dedication of Nehemiah in that Sunday School class. And God’s faithfulness every step of the way. My Spirit was lifted as I sang along with the praise team and was reminded of the invitation to worship:

Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy,

From the ashes a new life is born

Jesus is calling

Sidney’s and Josiah’s special song, Blake’s prayer, Wayne's scripture reading, Pastor Gage’s message - all of it was exactly what I needed. On a day when I think in my head I’m failing by not ministering to the people of our church, the people of our church ministered to me. Sunday was just a big reminder that Winfield First Church of the Nazarene isn’t my church. It’s our church. It’s God’s church! In fact, WE are the church. And that’s how it should be.

I needed that reminder this week. Thanks for your prayers. Thanks for your presence. And thanks for your participation in our church – God’s church. It’s a privilege to be a part of God’s mission to redeem, restore and save this world. And it wouldn’t be the same without you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you,

Pastor Billy

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