Happy Monday, May 18, 2020 church!

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! The message from Ephesians 5 and 6 reminded us of the importance of family relationships.  As we love, submit, and surrender to God, we love, submit, and serve those closest to us.

I also especially loved the songs Pete picked out to use in worship yesterday.  Notice the words of one of them written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell, “His Mercy is More.” 

What love could remember, no wrongs we have done
Omniscient all-knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea, without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

(Chorus) Praise the Lord, His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

What patience would wait, as we constantly roam
What Father so tender, is calling us home
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more (Chorus)

What riches of kindness, He lavished on us
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt, we could never afford
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more (Chorus)

I am so glad that God’s “mercy is more!”

I know many of you want to know when we will begin meeting again physically as a congregation.  In Dane county, there is still a “safer at home” order in place until May 26. Even after this expires, we want to be led by God’s Holy Spirit in being deliberate and careful.  We want to protect God’s people individually, His church as a whole, and the witness to the gospel of East Madison Baptist in our community.   When we do begin to meet again, we will follow the recommendations of our state and local leaders. We will open slowly and responsibly. My friend Paul Berthiaume said it better than I could say it.  “We are not keeping our campus closed because our freedoms are being oppressed. Rather, through God’s grace and the freedom he has granted us, we are choosing to do the wise, safe and responsible thing, as best we can discern under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Essentially, we are choosing to LIMIT OURSELVES for love’s sake.” In all that we do, we are seeking to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. 

In saying all this, the church council is meeting again this week to solidify a plan. At first, we will not go back to a full worship or activity schedule. We will either limit the number of people who can be in the building or possibly arrange outdoor services, to maintain social distancing guidelines.  We have ordered touchless disinfecting stations, but they will not be here until July.  We will continue to provide virtual worship services for those who may have compromised immune systems and need to be especially careful.  We are seeking to have something in place in early June, possibly the first Sunday. Pray for the church council as we begin to think about how we can wisely proceed in coming out of this time of social distancing. 

Remember to keep praying continually for each other.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church