Sycamore’s Buddy System in Viral Times!

Harry Long   -  

Many of us remember going to summer camp and swimming in a lake. Many kids in murky water made it hard for the lifeguard to keep up with everyone, so we had a buddy system where each of us had a buddy we were to watch out for and who would watch out for us. If we or our buddy got in trouble, we could call out for help and the lifeguard could respond. The lifeguard would regularly call for buddy checks, and everyone would stop playing while everyone would find their buddy to make sure everyone was okay and accounted for.

We say as a church that we want to know Christ personally, mature spiritually, build community, and show God’s love faithfully.

How can we build community and show God’s love faithfully when we are supposed to practice “social distancing” from one another?

We need a spiritual buddy system. You can help us care for the needs that arise in our congregation by watching out for each other. Hopefully, most of you have others you talk with each week in the church. Since we cannot meet together until this virus threat passes, we need to be all the more intentional in telephoning, texting, facetiming, face-booking, etc., to keep up with each other. Take the opportunity to pray with and for one another over the phone as you feel led and need arises. 

And let us know when someone gets sick, needs help, or is just lonely, so we can “jump in the water” to help! We do not want anyone to fall through the cracks and be isolated as we face this challenging time.

Our elders will be calling through to congregation to check on you to make sure you are okay. They will ask if you have someone else you talk with during the week, do you have any concerns you would like to talk about, do you have any needs we can help with, and do you know anyone who may be isolated that we should follow up with. They can pray for you and with you over the phone.

The idea is catching on for our covenant groups and other small groups to have conference call prayer times when they would have been able to gather together. Great idea for all! We are going to try it Sunday night.

We will not be able to have Sunday Services for a while, since we are not supposed to gather in groups over 10, but we will livestream a simple service that Mike, Marty, I, and a couple of elders will lead with song, prayer, and a message from God’s Word. Please join us each Sunday livestream at 11:00.

And each Sunday we can call, “Buddy Check!”

Devotional for today:

(Mary sent this to our covenant group, and I thought it so appropriate for all of us! I will leave its form intact because the very personal nature of the communication to our group is what we want to foster among all.)

Thinking of and praying for all of you as we face this unusual and somewhat anxious time. Praying for your safety, protection and health and for our Lord’s promises to be of peace and comfort to us all! Looking forward to our phone call prayer time Sunday evening! Mary (and Harry) 

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

The notes in my Bibles (ESV and Spirit of the Reformation NIV Study Bibles) on this passage said a couple of things applicable and helpful to OUR circumstances now: 

REJOICE: the joy that Paul calls for is not a happiness that depends on circumstances, but a deep contentment that is “in the Lord,” based on trust in the sovereign, loving God, and that therefore is available always, even in difficult times. 

REASONABLENESS (or gentleness or a forgiving spirit) is crucial for maintaining community; it is the disposition that seeks what is best for everyone and not just for oneself. 

NOT ANXIOUS: Paul echoes Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that believers are not to be anxious, but to entrust themselves into the hands of their loving Heavenly Father, whose peace will guard them in Christ Jesus. Paul’s use of “guard” may reflect his own imprisonment or the status of Philippi as a Roman colony with a military garrison. It is not Roman soldiers who guard believers – it is the peace of God Almighty. Because God is sovereign and in control, Christians can entrust all their difficulties to him, who rules over all creation and who is wise and loving in all his ways. Prayer and supplication are outlets for anxiety. An attitude of thanksgiving contributes directly to this inward peace. It is an antidote to worry. 

As we make progress in these things, we will find that it is not simply the peace of God but the God of peace himself who will be with us! 

Sent from my iPhone,