These past few weeks have been unique to say the least. The majority of us alive today have not experienced anything as disruptive as the COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be, and it is likely to intensify before things return to normal. As uncertain as things are right now we know that “normal” will exert its influence in our lives again. My hope is that when “normal” comes again, it looks different than it did before.
My hope is that when “normal” comes again, it looks different than it did before.
Church is family
I think many of us are realizing right now what a blessing meeting together as a church is. Often we don’t truly appreciate the best things in our lives until we experience an empty place where they used to be. I know I’ve taken gathering as the bride of Christ for granted despite the fact that it is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.
There are myriad ways that God blesses us through our participation in His church, but one of the most tangible blessings is the way we can experience close, real, relationships with people we know we’re going to spend eternity with. We get to worship God with people around us that are part of a family that will never be broken up.
When “normal” returns, I pray that we won’t allow apathy for the Church family to return with it.
Family is church
Church is family but it is also made from many individual families. Many of us attend church as a family and organize our schedules to allow for regular church attendance. That is normal and it is good. Right now however, I suspect that many of us are feeling unsure and uncomfortable as we are faced with the need to conduct church on our own at home. Dads and moms, do you know how to lead your family in worship in your living room?
The living room bears its name because it’s where the majority of “life” in the home happens. If someone unfamiliar with modern life were to observe your living room for a week what would they see? Would there be any signs of a family that worships the Living Triune God, or would they assume you worship a glowing picture panel that hangs on your wall?
Would there be any signs of a family that worships the Living Triune God, or would they assume you worship a glowing picture panel that hangs on your wall?
Here is the silver lining of the tragedy of this pandemic: God is graciously giving us time and space to learn to transform our living rooms into sanctuaries. Will it be uncomfortable at first? Probably, growth and change usually are. Will it be worth it? Absolutely, I can think of no greater goal to undertake in this time of crisis than to transform your family into the church that God has called it to be.
When “normal” returns, I pray that it finds families enjoying and persisting in intimate worship at home.
Church family is true community
We are called and commanded to gather as believers, to be members of a community that is deeper and wider than we can imagine. We are also admonished to make Christ more than someone we visit once a week at a church building.
While the church is a building it is obviously more than that. While the church is made of individuals and families, it clearly reaches far beyond our solitude. We mourn the current loss of our weekly gatherings to corporately worship our God and we commit to reunite as soon as we can. Meanwhile we rejoice that “there is ONE God, and there is ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all”.
This crisis is in many ways an opportunity for us to grow in our relationship with Him and learn to bring intentional worship into our homes. As members of the body of Christ we need each other; we need the community and accountability that God provides us through our local church. Perhaps, though, we also need to be reminded that our living rooms should be alive with the praise of our God at all times. Sunday morning should be the culmination of our worship, not the commencement of it.
That private, intimate worship is the evidence of our membership in the larger body of Christ. That personal, solitary enjoyment of our God is what makes us so excited to assemble and enjoy Him together. Christians are members of a true community that will never end because that community is the Bride of the Eternal Groom: Jesus Christ. Our fellowship is so sweet because it is a part of our fellowship with Him.
When “normal” returns I pray it finds us in true community, more committed than ever to Christ and His Bride.