23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
-Hebrews 10:23-25, NRSV
He has always been my little associate pastor. When he was just three or four, Noah already liked coming with me to church, early on a Sunday morning, before anyone else arrived. He would help me unlock doors, turn on lights, even spread salt on a sidewalk on the icier mornings.
And then, after all the tasks were done (and his mom turned to “boring” things like reading through the sermon one last time), Noah would stand at the church doors, face and fingers pressed up against the glass, watching the parking lot. Watching for cars to pull in. Watching for the Body of Christ to arrive. “Mama! Mama!” he’d shout. “A car is here! People are here! Kids are coming!”
Noah loved to watch every car pull into the parking lot. He loved to see all the people arrive for every worship service, program, and event. Mostly, I think that’s because he knew that with each car, there would be more people to play with, more fun to be had. Yet perhaps he also knew, deep down, how important it is for Christian people to gather together.
It’s important for us to gather, isn’t it? The Christian faith is not a solitary faith. That’s why generally speaking, we don’t worship all alone or study the Bible in a vacuum. That’s why we do mission events and service projects together. That’s why we continue to visit our homebound members long after they can’t make it out to church services or ministry events or Bible studies anymore. In Christianity, we know that it is important for us to be together.
Of course, coronavirus has made that more difficult. A virus’ core purpose is to multiply and spread. Viruses spread more easily in groups. Viruses love groups, and groupings of God’s people are no exception. That’s why we’ve had to establish these mitigation efforts of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. That’s why we can’t gather together — at least not like we used to.
And yet, we’re still together. Recently, after one of our Sunday morning worship livestreams, one of the members of our Sunday morning “Sanctuary Team” reflected: Do you notice how, once we turn off the camera, it turns back to six people in a room? But when the livestream is happening, it feels different.
I couldn’t agree more. When the livestream is running, there’s just a different feeling in the space… something powerful and electrically charged… something full and full of life… something that feels like the gathered Body of Christ. It’s a mysterious, sacred, beautiful phenomenon. We’re still gathering on Sunday mornings… and we’re still gathering during weekly Bible study sessions, and in Zoom meetings, and in phone calls, and over email, and through the mail, and through prayer. We’re “gathered” differently, but we’re still the gathered Body of Christ.
Find some comfort in that, friends… and in the promise that, at some glorious point in the future, we’ll be gathered together in person again.
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
- Make a gift to support our mission: https://wesleychurch.com/giving-2/
- View our recent messages: https://wesleychurch.com/sermon-message-on-video/
- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/