I’ve said it several times over the past week. You’ve likely heard several others say it as well. We have an entirely new situation in front of us. I’ve never seen anything like this. For centuries we’ve done a lot of things in very similar ways. Not anymore! But don’t forget:
We may not be gathering but we are still going as the church!
We may not be gathering but we are still the church! Here at New Story we started using the #alonetogether hashtag in order to remind ourselves that though we are social distancing and a lot has changed, we are not alone. So, I want to address what it actually means when we say: we are still the church. Here are my top 4 truths behind the statement: we are still the church. We need to remember these truths and practice them because we are still the church.
God still loves us.
Yes, this is crazy. But remember, through every dangerous and dark situation our world has ever faced, God has loved His people. I wonder how God has demonstrated His love for you already. What are you seeing?
Throughout the centuries, God has demonstrated His love for His people by sustaining, not removing them from dark situations. Think of the Holocaust, the great persecutions of Christians during the 1st through 4th Centuries and the persecutions that have occurred recently in countries around the world that are closed off to Christianity. God tends to show His love by supporting and sustaining His people through great and terrible times. Today is no different. If your expectation is for God to show His love by removing this, I am afraid you will be disappointed. We can pray for that, but I don’t have any insight into how He will answer. Don’t let that trick you into thinking that God doesn’t love us. He does.
We need to love the world like He does.
The rest of the world is hurting too, and we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. So, if God does love us, then we have an opportunity to love the world in a dark and dangerous situation.
Now more than ever you have a reason to check on your neighbors. You have a reason to reconcile with a boss you’ve been fighting with. You have a reason to reach out to an estranged family member and demonstrate love. God, your God – loves this world desperately. We need to demonstrate that desperate love.
We are still called to live holy lives.
There is a lot of talk about cleanliness right now. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. These are all important things – by the way, you need to be doing those things. Do everything you can to promote health including social distancing. But we also need to keep working on doing the things that will help us live holy lives.
Check your heart and your attitudes as often as you check what is going on with the virus. Check to see if there is sin that you need to turn away from. Are there positive steps that you need to take and have been avoiding? Prayer? Studying Scripture? Asking forgiveness? Checking your media and entertainment intake? If so, don’t come out of this quarantine spiritually fat. Work now to be spiritually fit.
We still have a common mission.
Finally, there are people all around us who are innately more aware of their own mortality. Because of that, I believe there is an opportunity to point people toward the hope that Jesus has provided through His death, burial and resurrection. We have hope because of Him. Not our own deeds.
When Covid 19 is all over – what will be told about us and how we lived? I hope that the story will be told that we shared Jesus over and over and we supported the needy and loved on the lost and cared for the lonely. That is our mission. We still have work to do even though the world seems to be in quarantine.