Aug 06 2020
WHY GATHER TOGETHER AGAIN?
As we prepare to gather together again, some people have asked me why. Why not just continue online until the pandemic is over?
While the blessing of technology has given us the gift of broadcasting services and gathering digitally through zoom, nothing beats presence. Knowing the pandemic is not over, we believe gathering is important enough to do whatever it takes to make it work in ways that are responsible, respectful and reasonable. Here are four reasons we are gathering together again.
1. YOU NEED PEOPLE
You were made for relationships. Created in the image of a relational God, humans need other humans. In the midst of all the goodness of creation and the presence of God that the first human enjoyed, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” It’s still not good. Yes, we need solitude. But we were made for community. Marriage, family, church, city; we are better together as interconnected parts of a body.
2. GOD SHOWS UP
Jesus said that where two or more are gathered, he is there in our midst. It’s not that he isn’t already present by his Spirit in the individuals and that God is not by nature omni-present. God is. But still . . . there is a special way in which God inhabits the praises of his people, speaks through the public reading and preaching of his word and becomes specially present in the sacraments. Note, it doesn’t take a large group. Two or three is enough. But God shows up in the midst of his people.
3. PEOPLE NEED YOU
You have gifts to offer that we need. Perspectives, encouragement, testimonies, and a way of representing God as his hands and feet. The church is missing out on you when we are not together. Sure, some of us can broadcast messages and songs. Of course, you can be present online and engage with others. But there are a lot of “one another” commands in the Bible that are hard to do when we are far apart.
4. CHURCH IS A SIGN
When the body of Christ gathers, it is a sign that the kingdom is coming. The restoration of everything starts with us. Your healing is a sign that one day sickness will be no more. My deliverance is a picture of what is coming for the whole creation. Their restored relationship is a sign of all things being made new by Jesus. More than ever, the world needs this hope.
So let’s come together again.
We will do whatever it takes to make sure we can gather in a way that is responsible, respectful and reasonable. We are all in this together and will each do our part in keeping the unity and responsibly following safety guidelines such as social distancing, wearing face coverings when distancing isn’t possible, and ensuring a clean and safe environment for everyone. We will all be mindful and respectful of each other’s space and differences of opinion, and reasonable in our attitudes and willingness to accommodate each other. We can get together again. And it will be good. Very good!
Though many will not be ready or able to return at this time, we will continue to offer online services on YouTube and online groups through Zoom.