Dear Members and Friends of Ark and Dove,
 
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a televised address that the Coronavirus poses Germany's gravest crisis since World War II. Not only is this pandemic a medical, economic, and social crisis, it is a crisis of faith. Where is God in all this?
 
In the last few weeks, I have turned to some of the German church leaders who faced the crisis of World War II. My daily devotions have been Dietrich Bonhoeffer's reflections in his book, Discipleship. Bonhoeffer wrote these reflections as the Nazi government was enforcing its authority over every part of German social life--including the Church. Bonhoeffer wrestled with what it means to be particularly Christian in those fearful times. In the beginning of his book, he asks, What did Jesus want to say to us? What does he want from us today? The simple, yet enormously complicated, answer to these questions is that Jesus wants us to follow him. Still, Bonhoeffer asks, What could the call to follow Jesus mean today for the worker, the businessperson, the farmer, or the soldier?
 
This week, I have been led to ask: what does the call to follow Jesus mean today for the quarantined, the physically separated, the grocer, the medical professional, the hourly worker, the politician, the soldier, the unemployed and unpaid, the at-risk, and the church leader? What does it mean to follow Jesus in the middle of a pandemic?
 
We have a blueprint in the gospels, in the teachings of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5-7, in the lives of Christians who have followed Christ, and in the community of Ark and Dove. So many of you have been following Christ through digital pathways, connecting with people you love and love you. You have, like Jesus, reached out online to those who are vulnerable and left alone. You have considered the hungry, thirsty, and poor and sought ways to provide. Every day this week, I have seen the people of this church find ways to love among many restrictions. You have asked this question each day and answered it.
 
What does it mean to follow Jesus in an unprecedented crisis? We can only take a step at a time towards Jesus Christ who finds a way through and beyond.
 
Where is God? Ever and always in Jesus Christ, who is with us even now.
 
Peace,
Jon
jgnelson1985@gmail.com
 
PS Kim Champagne and I will be leading a book study on Discipleship. Please contact me if interested.