The Saratoga Sun -

Faith like a rock

In uncertain time, Saratoga Alliance Church finds a way to reach out to congregation and others during week of Easter


April 15, 2020

While the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted everything from schools to local business, another aspect of life that has been affected is that of church goers. With the Holy Week having begun on April 5 with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter on April 12, churches everywhere have sought new ways to reach their congregations.

One example is that of Pastor Gene Smith of the Platte Valley Christian Church in Saratoga, who has posted a livestream on his Facebook every day as he asks those watching to join him in prayer and included a Palm Sunday Sermon. Across town, the Saratoga Alliance Church is also finding a way around social distancing. Passing by the house of worship at 1302 S. River St., once can see rocks of varying sizes on the steps to the church.

Dubbed the Rock Revival, the idea was brought to fruition by Kirby Berger.

"The idea of the Rock Revival is to remind us of how God has worked through difficult times in the past so that we have confidence that he is working now; even if he doesn't seem to be working in the way we want him to or the way we think he should," said Berger. "It is a great way to come together as a church even when we can't all be together in the same room."

The message on each rock is different. Some have messages of hope and community while others simply have a chapter and verse from the Bible. To the side of the steps, a large white rock bears the words 1 Sam 7:12, referencing 1 Samuel Chapter 7, Verse 12.

"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us."

According to Berger, the week of Easter is a great example of how God may be working in different ways than one might expect. He refers to the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem during the celebration of Passover and how the people initially welcomed him on Palm Sunday but, by Thursday, were calling for his crucifiction.

"This was because the people wanted a conquering king that looked different than this Jesus who had just been arrested. These people wanted a savior that would conquer their enemies," Berger said. "Meanwhile, God was putting together a plan that would save their enemies."

Berger draws parallels between Good Friday and the current struggle with COVID-19. In the Bible, Good Friday was a dark hour for the closest followers of Jesus who thought he had been defeated upon his crucifiction. Three days later, on Easter Sunday, Jesus was resurrected.

"The current situation may feel like a dark hour for many people and many Christians. The thing we must realize is that God is still on the throne. He is still in control and very much at work. He just may not be working in the way we think that he should," said Berger. "The Rock Revival is helping remind us God has come through for us before and he will get us through this."

Berger added that the Rock Revival is not just for the Saratoga Alliance Church congregation.

"Anyone who has testimony of how God has worked in their life is welcome to place a rock as a reminder in front of the Saratoga Alliance Church. The rock altar is growing every day and it is fun to see what others have written," Berger said. "Reminders to 'fear not', testimonies of healing, scripture references and, my personal favorite, two rocks side by side that say 'God saves marriages.' I don't know who left them but each one is a reminder of God's faithfulness."

Berger said that the Saratoga Alliance Church is encouraging other churches to follow suit and build their own Rock Revival.

In a time of uncertainty, when people are more inclined to gather, the Rock Revival appears to be giving some individuals some solid ground to stand on.


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