The church is a family. It is the embodiment of God’s work in the world. The church is not an institution, like any other nonprofit or charity. People come together with the common denominator of Christ Jesus, and God transforms us. We become greater than the sum of our parts.
In normal times, worship encapsulates the high point of maintaining our connected-ness. Week after week, we gather to sing, pray, and hear God’s word. We see each other, and before and after the service, we visit and catch up with friends. During Bible studies, we learn, grow, and share ideas. We see each other at committee meetings and during work projects. In normal times, we also connect on social media, via texts and phone calls, and by writing notes.
These are not normal times. No one ever knows the future, yet in days like these, uncertainty dominates the news cycle. Does the U.S. have the courage to truly practice social distancing? Will we flatten the curve? Can the federal government’s aid package help the country? The truth is: we don’t know.
What do we know? God loves us. God is present. And, we can continue being the church. We can maintain our connection with one another and with Christ.
We cannot gather together in the same space of the sanctuary, but we can connect via a live stream worship experience. I watched last Sunday’s service and enjoyed the comments as they appeared during the service. Between Facebook and YouTube, the service streamed nearly 800 times. Since some people watch together, the electrons that move together over the internet transcend space and bring us together. We can still connect through worship!
We can also connect by calling each other. AT&T had a 1987 commercial with a catchy jingle that went, “Reach out and touch someone.” Texting, messaging, and liking people’s posts on Instagram are fine. They keep us connected, but the connections maintain some distance. In normal times, we can combine digital connections with in-person connections. These days, we must adapt to maintain connections.
Calling someone on the phone has, for some people, become passé. To stay in touch, we have to be intentional. Pick the phone and call. Yes, still text. Yes, still message. Yes, still like and comment on friends’ posts. To truly hear how someone is doing and maintain a safe social distance, we can make the effort to listen and be fully present with our friends and family.
We need each other more than ever. Our church anticipates receiving requests for help, and in times of uncertainty like this, contributions to the church naturally decline. If you can help by making a donation, please do. If not, we understand.
We can share prayer requests and provide mutual support to one another. If you have a prayer request, please share it with me. Let me know if I can share it with others. Our combined voices will not reach an absent God. God is present and listening.
The church is a family. Together, we can face the future no matter what lies ahead.