Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you yet again in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ during these tempestuous times. I am sure by now you have heard that Jackson County, along with others, has issued another health order to lower the capacity of businesses and certain public gatherings in the region in response to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. This order is to go into effect this Friday at midnight.
While the new order does limit the capacity of entertainment venues, recreational facilities, restaurants, taverns, etc., it does not place any new capacity limits upon churches. However, it is important to remember the admonition of the Lord to the Saints in these the latter days. “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land; wherefore be subject to the powers that be, until He reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under His feet.” [DC 58:5b].
Regardless of the various arguments that might ensue, the order explicitly states that masks must be worn and personal protection equipment utilized. Thus, we ask and require that we be obedient to the order. We have masks available at the front door as well as various sanitizing stations located throughout the church building. We will continue to social distance and meet as per usual. We will still hold our Thanksgiving dinner with modifications. The tables will be distanced, families will sit together, and those attending will be served without having to go through a line.
I understand the frustration that we all feel with the present situation that we are facing, but it is important that we remember the promises of God, as well as their conditions. There must be a mighty change in this land in order for Zion to come forth, but the Lord has encouraged us that we be not afraid nor dismayed. He is in control and He will fight the battles of Zion, for assuredly, they are not ours but His. The scriptures bear witness of the hope that we have in God, for how many times has He delivered His people from their afflictions and bondage? I know that He will do so again for He is both faithful and able to fulfill His word. Let us therefore love one another as Christ loves us and live for Him as He has lived for us.
“Behold, the Land of Zion, I, the Lord, holdeth it in mine own hands nevertheless, I, the Lord, rendereth unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” [DC 63:8b]. “The Saints can not occupy in any place on the land of Zion which is not under the domination of civil law, and as citizens of the state, holding their liberties under the law, there must be a proper recognition and observance of these laws. The Lord has said that this condition of obedience to law must continue until He comes whose right it is to come and assumes to reign over His people.” [DC 128:7c-d].
Much hurt and sadness has occurred within the branch during this time, for which I take upon myself the responsibility. I have endeavored to seek the Lord’s will and guidance, and will continue to do so. I have not intentionally sought to harm anyone. I have sought to serve you and worship with you. I have been in many, if not all, of your homes because of the love we have for one another. I say this not to set myself a part, but to remind us all of the love that the whole branch has shared together over the years. I pray that we can forgive each other and without judgment. “Let us not therefore judge one another any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” [Romans 14:13].
May the God of peace be with us all. For though we suffer tribulation and distress, we know our God is with us and that His Zion lays before us, even at the door.
With much love and concern,