We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.
Sometimes events occur in life that are completely unexpected. Out of the blue we experience both good and bad (and in between) circumstances that no one could have predicted. If any of us just six months ago would have told a friend that we were preparing our family for a global viral pandemic, that friend would likely have thought us nuts. What we are going through right now as a community—as a global community—is unprecedented in our lifetime. The last such situation, as we have all heard many times over, was 102 years ago. None of our West Metro membership was around then.
Because this is a unique state of affairs, it has challenged each of us in unique ways. Most of us have experienced a significant change in our schedules. Kids are doing school from home now—elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. Employers who may not have done so before have now almost universally embraced the remote workplace. As a result, many of us have discovered the home office. We share in the difficulty in trying to find certain now-rare commodities (toilet paper, anyone?). In the midst of necessary errands, we are becoming accustomed to ever-present blue-tape lines, spread six feet apart. Whereas just a few months ago seeing someone wear a mask in public was uncommon, and often an indication of a severe physical condition, now it is uncommon to see someone NOT wearing a mask. Oh, what times are these!
None of us wants this, of course. But, as the popular saying goes, “It is what it is.” In the midst of this, I ask a favor of each of us: please pray for our shepherds. I realize that many of us already do this regularly, yet I implore each member to intensify our petitions to God on behalf of Jack, Phil, and Reagan. As spiritual leaders, they already bear a tremendous burden. Add to that a new level of decision-making complexity caused by a pandemic that none of us imagined would befall us, and their burden has increased dramatically. By the way, they did not ask me to write this, of course. They would never do so. But it needed to be said. Pray for them—every day.