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A Letter to the NPAC Family amid the Epidemic
Rev Arnold Chow
Dear brothers and sisters of the NPAC Family:
May the Lord's grace be with you! You are always in the prayers of the pastoral team. We pray that the Lord will keep you safe and in good health physically and spiritually.
Over the last few Sundays, we have gradually switched to online worship via the NPAC website or the NPAC app, 北宣Connect. It is likely that this mode of united worship in different places will continue for some time. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We need to join the community in fighting the epidemic, protect everyone and minimize the risk of infection.
During the epidemic, only pastoral staff – as far as possible – will be present at the church to lead the Saturday prayer meeting, the Saturday worship service at 11am and the Sunday worship service at 10:45am, which are broadcast live online. Weekly pre-recorded Children, Youth, Putonghua, English and TC5 worship services have also been arranged. Brothers and sisters please stay home to participate in the worship services and prayer meetings wholeheartedly in the Spirit.
It is certainly not easy to eliminate all interruptions while worshiping at home. But let us take this as a kind of practice and rehearsal. And perhaps this would be an opportunity to lead non-believers in the family to the Lord!
The challenge from the epidemic is grave. Precautions must be taken carefully. Besides paying due attention to personal and home hygiene, wearing face masks, washing hands frequently and being considerate, let us not forget the responsibilities of the priesthood of all believers: the sacrifice of praise and constant prayer. As we spend more time at home in our Thanksgiving and Prayer Year, let us take the opportunity to practice more.
The period from February 26 (Wednesday) through April 11 (Saturday) is Lent. I encourage you to meditate daily on the suffering and sacrifice of the Lord and set apart a regular slot in your weekly schedule (such as a weekday lunchtime) to fast and reflect. Pray for God’s mercy on this city. Pray for healing for the infected around the world, protection of the toiling frontline medical and cleaning teams, and also for our pastoral team (as we prepare for shepherding amid the epidemic).
The training of Lent generates action, as the monthly Bible verse of this month reminds us: "And do not forget to do good and to share with others" (Hebrews 13:16a). Dear members of the NPAC Family, let us pay attention to the opportunities, however small, to do good and to share. Let us help those in need. Even when we do not feel we have enough or are worried about shortage, giving someone a face mask or a small bottle of sanitizer would be heart-warming care.
Meanwhile, as we can only worship online, I am most concerned about the elders in our midst. Can they operate the app on their mobile phones? Can they play the worship service recordings on their computers? I hope every NPAC member will take the initiative to care for the seniors we know. Ask them. Help them.
As Lent approaches, we look forward to celebrating the resurrection of Christ. In adversity, let us turn our eyes upon Jesus. May our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King bless you and keep you always!