Extending the Peace...

The Most Essential Thing

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” – Luke 10:27 

Water pouring into handsDavid Martin, Executive Minister - “What is the most essential thing for my spiritual welfare?” When Jesus was asked this question, his reply cut straight to the heart of our faith – love for God, love for neighbour and love for self. As we struggle to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government and community leaders are making assessments about what is essential for our social welfare. In defining essential services, they are making critical decisions that will affect how communities will experience this current health crisis and the extent to which we can minimize the spread of this virus. 

What is essential to our faith? What is essential to our relationship with God and with our faith community?

We would do well in our faith communities to ask ourselves the same question – “In times such as these, what is essential church?” What is essential to our faith? What is essential to our relationship with God and with our faith community? At a minimum, my essentials would include personal and corporate prayer, spiritual and physical disciplines, immersion in scripture, worship, maintaining social connection and creative ways to virtually experience community and to care for each other and our neighbours. In short, love God, love your neighbour, and love yourself.

I have been totally impressed over the past week with how I have seen these very things being lived out among our pastors and church leaders and in the personal lives of people I know. People are finding creative ways to pray together, to worship online, to exercise ministry, and to provide support, encouragement and pastoral care. Smaller churches are thrilled to access the online services of larger ones and everyone seems to be finding ways to connect online to help each other stay spiritually grounded. I have been gratified to observe how we seem to naturally gravitate to the essentials of our faith and are encouraging each other to immerse ourselves and the church in the depths of God’s love and strength. 

Sometimes it takes a crisis for us to discern what is truly essential. During a time such as this, I encourage us all to focus on the essentials and to do them well. As we ground ourselves in our relationship with God, nurture each other spiritually and serve those around us to the best of our ability, I expect that we will learn some important lessons about “essential church.”

David Martin
Executive Minister

David Martin has served as MCEC Executive Minister for the last 15 years. He nurtures the mission of MCEC, alongside the Executive Council and staff team. Extending the Peace - A new blog voice for MCEC from your executive staff leadership.