As we contemplate the easing of lockdown what have you missed about not being able to meet together as church. Why do we meet together on Sundays? Can you worship without singing? How do we avoid being less than two meters from someone else? No hugs not even handshakes!
Do we go with an attitude of serving God and others, or do we go because the scriptures say not to neglect meeting together? Do we go to build our relationship with God and other Christians or do we go to meet our friends or even just out of habit. All are good reasons.
Can I suggest that the thing that we miss most about not being able to meet together is the main reason we go.
Here is a list of just some of those reasons, you may have others. Serving God by preparing the room; stewarding; welcoming people; serving coffee; drinking Coffee; chatting to friends; playing in the worship band; worshipping together including singing; praying together; reading the bible together; learning new truths about God; sharing communion; feeling the presence of Holy Spirit with us; praying personally with people; arranging to meet friends during the week; clearing up afterwards; All these things are of value, all will be rewarded if done in the right attitude.
All of these reasons can be categorised into three main areas, some cover two areas and some all three.
Our relationship with God (up).
Our relationship with others who come to church (in).
Our relationship with those who are not yet part of God’s family (out).
The next question is how do we discover the relative importance of each aspect of our relationships. You can use the term ‘balance’ but does this mean we give equal time, equal effort, equal finance?… For each Christian they will have slightly different emphasis on each area. The apostle and the evangelist would recognise the importance of knowing God (up) and of going, spreading the gospel (out), while the shepherd’s emphasis would be knowing God personally (up), and possibly be more emphasis on the flock (in). Prophets are used by God to speak to both the church (in) and those still outside the church (out), for instruction and warning of what is to come. Teachers also mainly speak to the church (in) but not exclusively. The answer is that we all need all three in different degrees. ‘Up’ is essential for all as, that is how we know what God is saying to us. ‘In’ enables us to maintain and develop our faith in the hard times and in the good. ‘Out’ gives us a purpose, sharing our Christian lives, spreading God’s Kingdom and is the last command Jesus gave to the disciples. In fact every Christian needs to constantly engage in all three aspects to live a balanced Christian life.
Our faith states that there are two groups of people in this world. Those who have faith in Jesus and those not yet committed to him, those who are for God and his Kingdom, and those indifferent or against. To those not yet Christians Jesus says “come”. To those who have become Christians he says “go”.
Church will be different after lockdown because we have all had time to reassess our priorities. What do you intend to do differently?