Panduan untuk Gereja Dalam Era Coronavirus

2020-05-13 15.23.54

download here

http://www.bit.ly/2SWJjYA

Guidance for Churches Post COVID-19 Era Webinar

2020-05-12 12.29.35

 

How can we be the body of Christ in a challenging times like this? If we can meet for worship in the future, how can we adjust physical services to make them safer to attend? Is digital church the way to go? What about our rural communities, the elderly, and bedridden? How do we exercise pastoral care and ensure the vulnerable are protected? How can we support our congregation? What about the training of our future pastors in seminaries? Join our panelists who will offer reflections from theological, pastoral, spirituality, and medical perspectives.

Registration: bit.ly/churchguidance

Guidelines for the Post-LockDown Church

 

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Guidance for Churches in the Coronavirus Era

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted all of society including the church. Uncertainty about the future, economic hardship and a sense of loss has affected many members of the church. As we grapple with this crisis it is important to ask relevant questions about the future and look at this pandemic from a spiritual perspective.

While the COVID-19 pandemic poses a great challenge it also offers us a vital opportunity to reflect deeply on our lives, the church, our community and the direction we have been heading. We have an opportunity to let go of what distracts us from Christ and deepen and broaden our individual relationship with Him. It also allows for the transformation of the church by God. The church is the people, the body of Christ and not a physical building. Few of us are able to recognise that many of our current church systems and structures are traditions grown over years. What started as good ideas and a response to needs, became traditions and later fixed structures. We should be careful not to become dependent on our church systems but rather on the living God. This crisis allows for us to refocus on the needs of the people and a reformation of the church and ministry environments.

With this in view a number of us have attempted to spiritually discern what God is saying and have put together a document that tries to offer practical guidance for the church and individuals on how to move forward and support their congregation and community. At the same time it explores ideas on how the body of Christ can move from being ‘recipients’ to active followers of Jesus. Personal spiritual formation and ideas on church transformation are considered with a view to produce a vibrant and meaningful body of Christ, one that is immersed in the community.

The document covers many areas including:

  • The expected immediate future with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Changing ministry environments and the response of the church.
  • Establishing an effective digital church.
  • Adjusting physical services to make them safer to attend.
  • Key prevention safety measures to implement.
  • Restructuring the church office environment.
  • Supporting the congregation to grow spiritually as individuals.
  • Supporting our pastors, church workers, their families and smaller churches.
  • Supporting rural, indigenous church communities and the poor.
  • Checklists are offered for specific areas to aid planning.

 

The document is available for download from

https://bit.ly/2KXUSKz

 

The COVID-19 pandemic will probably be with us for the next 1-2 years and we must guard from slipping back to ‘business as usual’ once the threat is passed. It offers the church of our time to have a ‘great awakening’ – a time to live church rather than ‘go to church’. A time to discover God, not just our Saviour and Father, but also as Friend and Beloved, awaits us.

 

Contributors

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Datin Dr Swee-Im Lim

Matthew Ling Ung-Hiing

Low Chai-Hok

Dr Alex Tang Tuck-Hon

David Bok

 

Malaysia

5th May 2020

 

Email for any queries: amarhss@gmail.com

Transferring, Translating, or Transforming Church online

2020-04-25 11.27.17

Interesting comments from Heidi A. Campbell on how our churches move online
(1) Transferring Strategy

“The most common strategy is transferring their standard offline worship services to an online
platform, with Facebook livestreaming being the most popular
option. This is especially true for priests and pastors from
mainline churches (i.e., Methodist, Episcopal) intent on simply
transferring their traditional worship services online. Many
church leaders filmed themselves in empty sanctuaries, alone,
or with a few assistants singing psalms, offering calls and
responses to liturgical readings, and staring close range into the
camera while broadcasting a sermon to their members. Their
goal seems to be to offer members a somewhat similar worship
service but in the safety of their own homes.”

(2) Translating Strategy

“A few others used a translation strategy, as they tried to modify
their worship rituals and space to fit onto a limited screen.
Here, I saw many nondenominational and interdenominational
churches, who were already used to using media in their
services, creating makeshift studios to host their online
services. They seemed to translate their worship experience
into more of a talk show format, where a pastor served as a
host introducing the worship band as if they were musical
guests and cuts to church leaders interviewing other staff
members about their thoughts on the current pandemic and
what a Christian response might look like. Some attempts to
translate worship from offline to online include a limited
interactive element, such as encouraging members to ask
questions about to what they saw via Facebook comments or a
Twitter feed.”

(3) Transforming Strategy

” Here, the standard “praise and
worship sandwich”—joyful praise songs followed by an
emotional sermon and then reflective worship music—was
abandoned for more of a “fireside chat model.” The pastor or
senior ministers sat on couches as if they were having a
conversation with their members, offering honest reflection on
their own struggles with the pandemic situation and creating a
dialogue between themselves and their members, asking
members to share their prayer requests and thoughts in real
time via social media or texts during and after the broadcast
service.”

Which strategy is your church currently using? Are you re-thinking how the church may be in the future or just waiting out the pandemic so that life can go on as normal?

Download this free eBook

https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/187891

Webinar on Lament and Beyond

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Are you moving beyond lament? How can we move beyond lament to be resilient people of faith?

Public webinar at STM-KL Centre. Moving Beyond Lament: Biblical, Pastoral, and Spiritual Perspectives on struggles, sufferings, and injustice.

Register at  https://bit.ly/beyondlament  to join us on Friday, 8 May from 8 – 9:30pm. Registration closes on 6 May.

Lamentation during this Pandemic and Beyond

 

 

 

Lamentations is a grief process. We lament during this pandemic at the end of our way of life and uncertainty at life to be after the lifting of the Movement Control Order (MCO). Pandemic has the power to destroy the old war and allow a new world to come into being. The destruction of Jerusalem and Judah by the Babylonians had a similar effect on the world of the Prophet Jeremiah.

The Breath Prayer

The Breath Prayer

Breath is life. Since the first human became animated by the breath of God, breathing is essential to being alive. When our breathing stops, our life ends. Our breathing thus is an intrinsic component of being alive. Jesus is God incarnate in a human body. Our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. The physical bodies in which our soul and spirit embody are Christ’s body on earth. So our bodies are sacred. Our breaths are sacred too as it is a gift of God, a means of grace, and a means of life. We pray with our minds using language. We can also pray with our bodies. The breath prayer is one of the early forms of prayer, started once we draw our first breath as a newborn baby. However, the breath prayer that we are using nowadays was formulated by the Desert Fathers and Mothers in the second to third Century C.E. Desert Fathers and Mothers were people who left the cities to go into the wilderness of the deserts of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt to be close to God. They were often solitary and committed their lives to prayer. From them came this tradition of prayer by being aware of our breathing. By intentional breathing slowing and still ourselves, we seek the presence of God. This is a form of wordless prayer, a contemplative type of prayer.

The Way of the Cross (Lent devotions)

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The Way of the Cross (Lent devotions)

 

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Them and Us

 

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Photo: lifehopetruth.com

 

Them and Us

MSO Day 20 06 April 2020

Monday, Holy Week 2020

John 2:13–16 (NIV)

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

Matthew 21:12–13 (NIV)

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’  but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

 

It is all their fault. Serve them right. When we read the above accounts of Jesus clearing the temple of moneychangers and merchants, we applauded dispassionately. It was all their fault. Then we get into an academic discussion on whether Jesus cleared the temple once or twice, as there was mention of two Passovers. It was always their fault; the merchants, temple religious authorities, thieves, robbers, and other bad guys. Jesus was right to punish them. When the COVID-19 outbreak was first detected in China, we sat back smugly saying, serve them right for eating these exotic animals. The pandemic spread to the rest of the world and now it is our neighbor’s fault; those who attended religious gatherings or those unhygienic migrants workers from undeveloped countries. This separation of them and us is the result of our rationalization and the need to pass the blame. We need to maintain our sense of superiority and righteousness. We do this by dividing everyone into two categories. The ‘us’ who is good and the ‘them’ who is not. That is why we can read these two events of Jesus cleansing the temple dispassionately and in the third person. We are not involved. Jesus is not angry with us. We are the good guys.

The Holy Spirit will not let us be. He whispers in the core of our spiritual being that we are the sinners. We cheat, steal, lie, and take advantage of our fellow human beings like those Jesus drove out of the temple. There is no us and them. That is our sinful self-justification to allow us to hate someone else. With 1.2 million people infected, 69,480 deaths, 208 countries involved, with most areas under lockdown, this single molecular virus has brought the world as we knew it to a standstill. Even if we find a treatment or a vaccine tomorrow, our world will not be the same again. The fallout will include a worldwide depression. Millions of lives and families will be affecting many facing poverty and famine. In times like this, we need to hear a message of hope. Almost all pastors preaching online speaks of hope. And that is what the gospel is all about. It is a message of hope.  We, however, need to learn about lamentations and repentance.

Lamentations is a grief process. We lament at the passing away of a way of life – pre-Covid life. It is a loss. We grieve for the millions of people affected directly and indirectly. Our grief is for those who had died, are struggling for their lives on ventilators in ICUs, and those suffering in quarantine. We are restless and grieve for the loss of personal freedom of movement and gathering. We grieve for the restriction of our religious activities. Now is the time for us to lament. The Book of Lamentations was about grief when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. It was a lamentation of a people to help them cope with the loss of hope, and surprisingly to find hope. In the middle of the five chapters which made up the whole book, Jeremiah made this surprising statement, “ Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23 NIV).

We need to repent of our sins and our failures. This pandemic has us all confined to our homes. It forced us out of our hurried active lifestyle to a sort of hermitage existence. It threw away all the way we are used to doing church: Sunday worship in a huge auditorium, energy driving music, and activism in our church work. At one stroke, we are left ‘imprisoned’ in our homes with the bible and the Holy Spirit. This enforced time is an excellent time to review our spiritual life and our spiritual-faith-communities.

Was our spiritual life and church life worship acceptable to God?

Was it a performance designed to impress others?

Are our faith communities formative communities that empower every single one to edify each other and draw closer to God?

Are we just jumping from one program to another, like a hamster on a treadmill?

If our lifestyle and church are not acts of worship to God, then we really need to repent because it would not have been pleasing to God. The author of Chronicles stated, “… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).  This verse contains a call to action, repentance, and a promise of hope.

Jesus cleansed the temple and in some ways, he may be cleansing us too because now we are the temple. In this time of a pandemic, there is a need for hope to sustain us. However, there is also a need to lament, and to repent. There is no them and us. We are all in this together. John Donne, an English poet, and Churchman wrote For Whom the Bells Toll

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

 

MSO Day 20

06.04.2020

 

John Donne, Public Domain

Along Came a Donkey

 

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Photo: crosswalk.com

 

Along Came a Donkey

Zechariah 9:9 (NIV)

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

At unsettling times such as these, I wonder how many of us still continue to observe the holy month of Lent? In our frantic search for reassurance and safety, observances of Lent may have fallen away. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday where Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey at the beginning of what is known in Christian tradition as Passion Week. This entry of Jerusalem was noted in the four Gospels. Only in the Gospel of John was it noted that this entry follows the resurrection of Lazarus. This foreshadows the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter. Jesus entered Jerusalem to die.

A question at the back of our mind is why ride a donkey? Should not a King be riding a horse as is traditional at that time? A donkey is a symbol of peace. A horse is often associated with war. John of Patmos in Revelation 6 described the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The horses were of different colors. One was white (conquest/pestilence), another was red (war), black (famine) and pale (death).  The riders and their horses were “given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:8b NIV). With over a million people infected by SARS-CoV-2 and almost 60,000 death worldwide, it may seem that these horsemen are riding among us. These horsemen are not here but Jesus on a donkey was, bringing us peace more than two thousand years ago.

Instead of riding in as a King of Kings, who he is, Jesus instead comes to Jerusalem as a peace offering for the whole of creation. This offering was accepted and that is why we can enjoy peace today. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” Jesus said (John 14:27 NIV).

The peace that Jesus has given is already ours. It is different from the peace that the world offers. The world offers a false peace. The delusion that the world is in control crumpled in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Countries after countries were affected, various health strategies were tried, yet the infection and death rates continue to rise.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” Jesus said.

We are troubled and afraid because we do not trust enough in Jesus, have enough faith in his words. If we do, then we shall receive his peace. Henri Nouwen noted, “I really wish you an ever deeper peace. I know that that peace quite often lives underneath the turmoils and anxieties of our heart and doesn’t always mean inner harmony or emotional tranquility. That peace that God gives us quite often is beyond our thoughts and feelings, and we have to really trust that peace is there for us to claim even in the midst of our moments of despair.”

Imagine how you will feel if you fall overboard into the sea and you do not know how to swim.  As you struggle, you feeling yourself slipping deeper and deeper underwater. You panic and are fearful. Imagine someone lowers a rope to you. You hang onto the rope, knowing that you will not drown. Instead of panic and fear, you may even feel peace. That is the sort of peace Jesus is offering you. The peace that helps you to feel centered and calm even though the world is falling apart around you. This secure feeling is not the peace you receive that Jesus is the one who lowers the rope to save you from drowning. This peace is what embraces you when you realize that Jesus is the rope and he is the one who is holding you and saving you from drowning.

Peace came through a gate in Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday, heading towards the cross and Easter Sunday.

MSO Day 18

Sat 04 April 2020