PRAYERFUL GATHERING: Can you imagine this isolation without modern advances in technology?
This week, I watched the live stream of our church’s worship service, complete with multiple cameras, gifted musicians, and a Christ-centered message. Later, I pushed play on my favorite Amazon station and sang to Jesus with my family. Throughout the day, I texted brothers and sisters in Christ and shared encouragement via Facebook and Instagram.
I have a hunch that the Christians who endured the black plague didn’t enjoy a Netflix party with their best friends . . .
Yet . . . I am not content.
Because I deeply miss being with people. Laughing, singing and sharing the gospel on phone with my family, via a voice/video chat, is nice but nowhere near as glorious as joining in the same place with voices gathered at the same time. Yes, worshipping together is marvelous. Taking sermon notes as I sit on the couch is better than nothing, but it’s not better than sitting in small groups, as fellowships, and talking and sharing the gospel with one another.
I realize, like you do, that the local church is complicated. Some sermons are a meandering path of disconnected passages that lack a clear point. Some musicians make a noise, but not a joyful one. But, people are people!
Nevertheless, Coronavirus is teaching me to love my faithfilled believers and spirit filled family. I can’t wait for the day when the restrictions are lifted and we all gather in public places, sharing coffee or a meal, while lifting each other, and talking about living up to Christ standards. I have a hunch that the joy will drown out the doubts and fear.
Three thousand years ago, collective worship wasn’t the norm. No wonder a psalmist said, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’”(Psalm 122:1). Gathering in the Lord’s house in Jerusalem (the temple) brought thousands upon thousands of His people together. What a difference from the day-to-day life in a small Galilean village!
Technology provides a wonderful aid when there is no opportunity to meet in person, but it does not compensate for the in-person fellowship with fellow Christians. The daily sermon podcasts and Christian radio fill me up from Monday through Saturday. But nothing can or will replace the physical gathering of God’s people.
If this pandemic teaches us to love being part of a society and being in the same place, with friends and family, more than ever before, it will prove, once again, that Christ > Corona.
GOD BLESS YOU.