For some weeks now we have been unable to gather, neither on Sundays for the worship service (including the Sunday schools) nor on weekdays as Community Groups, Alpha, prayer or other small groups.
Also daily life and routines have changed significantly: some of you have been put on furlough, some have even lost their job. Parents are trying to reconcile homeschooling, taking care of newborns or toddlers and working from home. Again others are struggling with significantly increased workloads. Not only work trips, but also family reunions and celebrations had to be cancelled. And then there is those who are part of a risk group and have to live with that.
(Thank you to all those who have been giving to the Care Fund! And please do not hesitate to get in touch yourself should you need assistance.)
At the same time, I have been struck many times in recent weeks by the notion that nothing really changed spiritually: Jesus has risen. He reigns at the right hand of the Father. He is with us through the Spirit. The Spirit has been poured out to fill, guide and empower us. Yes, we have been reminded that we are not in control. But Jesus is.
He is with us in the boat and perfectly capable of handling storms (Mark 4:35-41)
Closed doors and isolation do not stop him from coming in (John 20:19-29)
FOCUS ON PRAYER
One way to remind us of our dependence on God, to grow our understanding of what it means to belong to God's family (Ephesians 2:19), and to make us again and again aware of "what God has freely given us" (1 Corinthians 2:12) is prayer. Prayer also happens to be the one thing we still can do together.
his is why we started in our online church service (streamed at 11am every Sunday) a teaching series on prayer, using the Lord's Prayer as guide. Whether you are part of a Community Group or want to go deeper yourself, I highly recommend the Prayer Course(www.prayercourse.org). You will find an additional session on almost each of the topics we cover over the next weeks, plus additional material for small groups.
When can we meet again?
Many of you have been asking when we could meet again. As it stands, restrictions on gatherings with more than 10 people until May 13 are still in place. We are awaiting the outcome of the government's meeting on May 3 and will communicate any updates through the usual channels. Make sure you are connected through (Helsinki or Espoo Team) WhatsApp groups, website and newsletter.
For now, may God continue to bless you and speak to you, also as you pray -