By Tim McCoy,
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to know so many of you in this amazing Canadian Baptist family. We are a big family, but over and over again, I realise how blessed I am to be a part of it. So who is this family as we reach the end of 2020?
We are unique.
We are a family of misfits and upstream swimmers. We are old and young, rich and poor, sick and healthy—and we come from every part of the world. We don’t all look the same, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are united in Christ.
We are distinct.
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are central to who we are. Even when we disagree on issues of faith or practice, I know that we are motivated by a genuine love of God and a deep desire to do his will. It’s how we are able to function together as a family instead of a homogenous unit, and each of us brings something different and beautiful to the table.
We are not alone.
In so many of the churches I’ve visited, it has been so clear to me the ways that we care for one another. We pray for each other, share meals together and live life in ways that glorify God and bring light to our communities. I know this has been a hard year, but the faith we possess will, I know, carry us through.
Because you are old and young, rich and poor, sick and healthy, I want to encourage you to take seriously the public health measures that your local public health authorities have laid out for you. Our job as followers of Jesus is to first and foremost love him. The second is to love one another and to care for those in distress. Because so many of our churches have large numbers of older members, healthcare workers and other vulnerable people, sometimes the best way we can show God’s love to others is by staying apart—by continuing to meet online, or through phone calls. Our witness to our communities is best served by how well we love one another.
So many of you are doing this so very well! Many of our churches have been joined online from people around the world who might never otherwise have heard the Gospel. Others have focused their energies on food drives, providing necessities for some of the families hardest hit by the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Others of you in lower prevalence areas, who are still able to meet, are showing your care in your dedication to following safety protocols, even when it is frustrating and difficult. On a personal note, as the husband of a nurse who is working directly with people combating COVID, I want to assure you—this pandemic is real and it can be deadly. Please continue, as you have been doing, to show love and care to all frontline workers in your church and community. Our teachers and grocery store employees, first responders and healthcare workers all need our prayers. Where would be without them? Remember them in your time with God, and continue to pray for them.
We know this pandemic won’t last forever, but the Church—the Bride of Christ—will. Let us continue to patiently care for one another in the midst of these light and momentary troubles, knowing that our God, who has the Universe in the palm of his hand, has this all well under control.
2 thoughts on “Who We Are in a Pandemic”
Your emphasis on the uniqueness of our family is good to hear, and have confirmed. The fact that we are all different, and that these differences are essential to our existence as Baptists, was good to hear. When people, whether in the church or elsewhere, insist that we need to be the same, look the same, and think the same, in order to be part of society or a political party or a religious group, they are missing out on the richness that is to be found in the gospel. Thank you.
Thanks, Tim, for your thoughts on what we are in a pandemic. We are all people who are in a situation that we did not ask to be in and so as the result our churches have had to do their best to keep the congregations together. It makes no difference who we are, our ages, our colour or anything else – God is in control and He will bring us through it together. We are thankful for the way that churches have been able to keep together with virtually services – some are continuing even since they have been able to worship in the sanctuary so that people who cannot attend or who do not feel comfortable attending can still participate in the services.