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相信沒有人想到，新型肺炎的疫情會來得如此兇猛，以致 1 月底開始教會要暫停所有的團契、小組聚會及會議，更想不到的，是崇拜也要轉為網上錄播。不少弟兄姊妹憂慮疫情的發展之餘，也擔心持續暫停聚會，會對個人的靈命及彼此的關係造成負面影響，我們或會想到，信徒及教會會否因此而變得渙散？
Connecting with One Another amid the Epidemic
Rev Hung Kwai Fong
None of us could have anticipated the seriousness of the coronavirus which led to the church’s suspension of all fellowship, small group and other meetings from the end of January. Even more unexpected was that even our worship services had to go online. Our worries extend beyond the epidemic – will our spiritual lives and relationship with brothers and sisters suffer as well? Will our church go lax as a result?
While Hong Kong people stock up to fight the epidemic and to protect themselves and their families, Christians do the same. But what we must not forget is that we all the more need to maintain a close relationship with God and with brothers and sisters.
It is likely that brothers and sisters will gradually adapt to worshiping online. But whichever worship mode we adopt, it cannot replace our daily personal worship – our daily devotion and prayer. Particularly in these days when supplies are short, when many people are worried and they grab whatever is still available, our daily worship will remind us that God is almighty and unlimited. He rules over the world and the epidemic. He is the Lord of life. In man's weaknesses and helplessness, only God is trustworthy. He alone can give real peace. The Lord has promised: "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" (John 14:27). Non-believers do not understand our relationship with God, nor the fact that the Holy Spirit connects us to Him: "Remain in me, and I will remain in you."
In the early days of the church, the Apostle Paul preached the gospel and set up churches everywhere. Although he could not be with the believers, he kept them in his heart. He even called his spiritual son Onesimus "my very heart." Paul not only wrote many letters to encourage, teach, exhort and rebuke the churches, but also sent coworkers to visit and care for them.
In the midst of the uncertainties surrounding the epidemic, coupled with the fact that we cannot meet in church, we can easily feel lonely and alienated. It is exactly because of this that we need to make greater effort to sustain our relationship with brothers and sisters during this period and fight the epidemic together. Let us learn from Paul and keep brothers and sisters in our hearts as those close to us. In our daily prayers, we can ask the Holy Spirit to remind us of our brothers and sisters. We can send them messages, call them on the phone, or share with each other what we have learned during quiet time by video call. We can care and pray for each other as well as for the epidemic and the church. Relationships need to be sustained with conscious effort. It also takes an effort on our part to maintain unity in the Spirit. We should prevent the "out of sight, out of mind" situation from happening.
Thanks be to God, He promises and gives us brothers and sisters to walk together amid the epidemic!