We Still Need Each Other
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
“Our governor has asked for no gatherings more than 100 people; our church is trying to figure out our options,” an out-of-state pastor told me with panic in his voice after the COVID-19 coronavirus had been named a global pandemic. At the end of the day, our whole lives should be an act of worship, so the coronavirus should bring little fear. The Sabbath can still be holy. And with technology being what it is today, we are prepared to handle solidarity without having to be completely lonely. We know all of this, but still – the thought of not being together for worship on Sunday mornings brings about feelings of uncertainty.
However, I would hope that singing in worship and hearing a message are not the only reasons we go to church. No, we are part of the Body of Christ! We are called in scripture after scripture to and for each other – for prayer, for accountability, for encouragement. I don’t know about you, but when I imagined a day where my worship became threatened to the extreme by the world, I had no hint that it would threaten my Christlike relationship with others because we could not worship in a church building together.
As part of the “generation of screens,” I know how to text, Facetime, use social media, watch a videocast or listen to a podcast, stream music, tithe online – you name it! If I had kids, I would know how to print off coloring sheets, download Bible stories, and Google games to play. Some might say I know how to have “church” without even having to go to church. I saw a post online this week that said, “When we can’t travel or hang out with our friends, social media will just be filled with pictures of our food at home because that’s the most interesting thing we have going.” Is it true that all of these things can replace going to church and worshipping together?
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who might have attended the Technology Workshop at church. They are not incapable or unintelligent when it comes to technology, but it certainly becomes more of a chore because it does not come naturally to them. Might they eventually not even try to have church on their own?
Friends, may I challenge you today? There’s a clear message we must see in the struggle of not being able to gather in large groups – whether we are skilled with technology or not. We are not meant to simply have church; we are meant to BE the church.
Is letter writing your thing? Do that. Encourage everyone you can think of.
Do you love to worship with songs? Do that. Lift up your windows, turn up the music, and sing for the neighborhood. Film a video clip of you singing and post it online.
Are you the one scheduling multiple coffee meetings a week? Do that. Agree to make coffee at your own homes, get on Facetime, and stir up one another in love as you sip from your mugs.
Maybe you’re the caretaker of everyone you know? Do that. Embrace these days of caring for your family a little extra than normal. Paint your daughter’s nails. Play video games with your son…take it a step further and get online LIVE with him and stir up a good conversation with his friends. Be intentional about quality time with your spouse. For once and maybe the last time ever – stay on top of the laundry that needs doing. No? Just me? Okay, then…
Perhaps you’re the introvert who gets nervous that you’ll say the wrong thing face-to-face. IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE! Write some blogs. Text with people you’re too nervous to talk to in person. Send postcards just telling others you’re thinking of them.
I could go on, but the point is the same. If your worship through connecting stops because you cannot live life in public with others anymore, then it may be time to evaluate your heart regarding what it means to be called to one another. If we take seriously God’s leading to connect with one another, then we won’t allow anything to stand in our way. We will not neglect to connect together. And in doing so, we will BE the church.
One of my catchphrases is, “We need each other.” We don’t need each other any less in these tough, uncertain days. We know that studies show that loneliness is one of the top killers of humankind, so why not become as obsessed with preventing loneliness as preventing the COVID-19 coronavirus? I urge you; do not use this unordinary time to binge every Netflix show, sleep your life away, eat all of the junk food, and take in every little bit of “me time.” What is meant for evil, God uses for good. Let him keep using you, friend. We still need each other – including you.
COVID-19 coronavirus is not an excuse to separate from the fellowship we are called to worship and live with. Instead, it’s a call to switch things up, to deepen our intentions, to create a passion for others that survives the threats of this world. Certainly, “have church” should there come a day where we cannot gather together, but more importantly, BE the church. “Do not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 NLT
*Real Life Community is currently still meeting at 2022 E Main Street in Murfreesboro on Sunday mornings at 10 AM. Live stream is available on Real Life Community’s public Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/reallifecommunity). If there are any changes to that, they will communicate it to the congregation and the public.