We received word on Friday that the County Parks and Recreation Department will no longer allow us to conduct worship services at the park, where we have been enjoying our Sunrise Beach Service for several years. Each Sunday morning at 7AM, dozens of people gather to sing, pray and share the Word of God. Because of some scheduling problems, we have to relocate our service or meet later in the day. Later in the day does not work for me because of our worship service schedule at the main campus. Our option seems to be to find another place where we can worship.
What Would Jesus Do?
Picket the Parks and Rec Department?
Call the local news reporter?
Boycott the County parks?
Threaten a lawsuit?
I doubt it.
I am hoping that we can assume a position of “turning the other cheek”. We wish to be at peace with our County leaders. We want to work with them, along-side them to bring positive change to our community. We want to model a Christ-like attitude as we face this situation.
We are looking for alternative places of worship.
I have to say, this minor inconvenience has caused me to wonder what it is like to have government oppression against our religious practices. How would it feel if worship were made illegal? How would underground worship happen in our community? What do our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in oppressed conditions experience daily?
Pray for the persecuted church around the world.
Is this the first step to the government taking away our freedom of religion and rights to worship? Possibly. Are we going to get in a panic about it? No. I would rather spend my time ministering to people than fighting with community leaders.
Besides, we have been breaking the rules all along. The park is clearly posted: “Park opens at dawn and closes at dusk.” We are there way before dawn on most Sundays.
Say a prayer with me about perspective. We need to see these things the way Christ does.
I am expecting growth to come from this. I think this challenge may result in something positive. Honestly, I can’t wait to see what God does with this one!