I wonder what it means to you personally to be the Church? If that question had been asked of you in January I wonder what you would have said and has your answer changed as you read this now four months into the worst pandemic the Church of today has seen. I would think the question would receive many different responses spanning from the church has been reignited on fire in the Spirit through the many ways it continues and the new ways God has given it to worship, serve and evangelise in its mission to the world. The other end of response may say this feels like the church is dormant or even worse it is dying. Of course there would be many other responses somewhere in between these two views.
I guess that some of our responses are shaped by our personal experience of what we have been through during this period and how it has affected us, but certainly for all of us it has been a time to think about what is important to us and reassess what we may be and do as individual Christians and as church, as we come through it. As I have reflected, I have realised that to be honest I have not so much missed the worship and the activities in the building as we have done some of this online, but I have desperately missed physically being with people in both our fellowships and in the community. We are told so often that church is the people and this has come into sharp focus over this time and I long to be in physical fellowship again as soon as it is safe. In saying that I also realise that I have changed over this period as we all will have, so when the time comes when we can meet, it will not and perhaps should not be the same because of this and so together and with God we will need to establish where we are and where we are being led.
That said, I also believe God is calling us to continue to consider how we can be church now in our present circumstances, just as he has always done, and not simply be looking to the future. God reminds us through Paul;
‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.’ 2 Corinthians 5.17 and this is a continuing state just as much as God’s love is ‘new every morning’. So in our commitment as church to follow Christ and as we have been considering in House Group/Bible Study, let us be ‘unleashed as Church‘.
May we continue to know and experience together and apart, God’s presence with us.
Your friend and servant