Dear members and friends of the First Presbyterian Church of Corona:
After watching the news and reading articles on the internet for the last two days, I fear that many religious leaders just don’t get it. Your Session gets it and has determined that we shall not gather at the church building until it is safe. This virus can move quickly to affect personal and communal health. Thus, I feel compelled to send you this letter.
Some Christian leaders are mounting aggressive campaigns and even filing lawsuits against state government officials claiming that a ban on religious gatherings is a violation of the free exercise clause in the First Amendment and trying to promote the idea that we are being persecuted and victimized as Christian people.
Our Constitutional rights are very important to me, and the Constitution is centrally important to all citizens. Peter Marty, editor of the Christian Century magazine reminded me that the Constitution doesn’t require me to give food to the hungry or shelter for the homeless. There is no amendment that forces me to listen to science, or consider the needs of the medically vulnerable, or attend to the aspirations of the elderly. I appreciate my rights. But fixating on those rights at the expense of the love, compassion, and mercy contained in the substance of faith is wrong. Faith is more essential than a lot of things right now, perhaps especially these lawsuits that claim moral high ground for religious freedom.
We have chosen to follow Jesus' commandment to care for our neighbor, especially our most vulnerable neighbors (Matthew 22: 37-40), during the coronavirus/COVID19 pandemic. While we are not gathering at the church building, we have chosen to see this as a time for us to try new ways to worship, learn, pray, and stay connected ...after all, God is always doing new things (Isaiah 43:1-19)!
Shalom: A Study of the Biblical Concept of Peace begins
Thursday, June 11 at 10:30 AM on Zoom and continues every Thursday through August 27
Shalom shines biblical light on the issues and unsettled mood of our times. Today, more than ever, we cry out for shalom. See what the Bible says. We will use materials written by Old Testament scholar Donald E. Gowan and attempt to unravel the multiple biblical threads of this eternal quest in this masterful exploration of the Hebrew concept "shalom" and the Greek "eirene." Peacemaking is a central concern of the church and the world today.
∙What Do We Mean When We Say "Peace"? ∙What They Meant by Shalom in Israel
∙Wholeness, Health and Harmony: God's Intention ∙God of Peace & God of War
∙Division, Illness & Conflict: The World as We Know It
∙Good News from God! ∙Christ Brings Peace with God to the Believer
∙Christ Brings Peace with God to the Church
∙Blessed are the Peacemakers - Part I ∙Blessed are the Peacemakers - Part II
∙Christians as Peacemakers
∙Hope for Peace, Part I: Peace for Israel ∙Hope for Peace, Part II: Peace on Earth
∙What Good are Promises? The Importance of Hoping for Shalom.