Greetings and grace to our beloved members of Hope Church, as well as to the Friends of Hope. We are entering the 18th month of the global pandemic COVID-19.
We are experiencing ugly, uncivil political acrimony, record setting hurricane & tornado destructions, unprecedented western wildfires, ongoing racial & social unrest. America has ended a 20 war in Afghanistan and we remember the September 11, 2001 enemy attacks in New York City & Washington DC, 20 years ago.
Not to mention the education, economic & crime challenges in our own beloved Memphis & Shelby County.
Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:8 that these kinds of destructions would precede the beginning of the end of human history. So what’s happening has been predicted. But, but he also told us to take courage.
As it relates to COVID-19, we will stay the course of following science, scripture & common sense.
We follow The scripture by not living in fear but walking by faith & confidence. We follow scripture by designing safety protocols demonstrating love for the most vulnerable —not the strongest. We follow scripture by offering both ‘in-person’ + ‘virtual options’ for weekend worship & weekday Bible studies or community groups.
We follow medical science by continuing safety measures. Namely, encouraging vaccines, hand-washing, mask wearing (still highly recommended in our worship gatherings) & physical distancing.
We follow God-given common sense by calculating risk and doing what’s best for our families. And we’re researching with due diligence to know when & where we can intervene most in disaster relief. Stay tuned…
In the meantime,
Psalm 46:1 (ESV) is where we live, breath and rest.
God is our refuge & strength. A VERY present help n the time of trouble.
Let's read in (The VOICE) translation
1 God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide? 2 No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails. When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless. When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless.
3 Even in heavy winds and huge waves, or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless… 5 The True God never sleeps…
7 You know the Eternal, the Commander of heavenly armies, surrounds us and protects us;…
8 Come, gaze, fix your eyes on what the Eternal can do. Amazing, He has worked desolation here on this battlefield, earth. 9 God can stop wars anywhere in the world. He can make scrap of all weapons:… 10 Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God.
So in the midst of cultural chaos, Hope Church is striving to stay centered in the word of God + connected to an imperfect but caring community.
As Jesus Followers, our heads are not in the sand; our heads are in the SKY. We are GLANCING at the problem (& getting involved on earth to fix them) — but we are GAZING at the problem-solver.
Rearrange your schedule & come worship with us in person this weekend, OR if you’re still uncomfortable, join us online. We are observing Communion, and my sermon from God’s word will be relevant & reassuring. We are looking forward to seeing you!
Rev. Rufus Smith (Senior Pastor) and Dr. Eli Morris (Senior Associate Pastor)
Note: September 2021 • Our County Health directive has been updated (Health order No. 25) to mandate masks in public indoor facilities. This mandate currently excludes churches. At this time, we will continue to not require masks for all individuals inside the building, however we do HIGHLY ENCOURAGE everyone to wear masks in order to continue to keep each other safe. We will continue to encourage social distancing of 6 feet, along with every other row in the sanctuary as well as 3 seats between family units. If you have been exposed or are feeling ill, please worship with us online at any of the platforms we that we have available.