During this pandemic, state governments have ordered the closing of churches across the US. What’s the Christian supposed to do? Do we defy the orders? Do we go underground? Do we comply?
As we wrestle with these questions there is one really important thing to remember. No government can close THE church. The word we often translate as church is ekklesia which means “the called out.”
Used to refer to any group of people, ekklesia was a common word during the time the New Testament was written. It always referred to people. The church isn’t made of brick and mortar. The church isn’t a worship service. The church is made of people. The church is you and me.
Whether or not the doors to a building are unlocked or not, the church is still open. The people of Jesus are still in business.
How do we keep being the church when we aren’t able to assemble? What does this deployed church look like?
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
It looks like love.
Isn’t it funny Jesus never said the world will know us by the sign on a building we go to Sunday mornings? He never said the world will know us because of our programs or ministries. The world will know us by our love for one another.
AND… Jesus didn’t say the greatest command was to go to church. He did tell us that the greatest commands are to love God and our neighbors.
So how do we love during this season of lock downs and social distancing?
Even your neighbor may not be comfortable sitting at a table with you, fix a plate or six plates and feed someone.
Hairdressers, servers and delivery people are all working longer and harder. Say, “I see you” with an extra with tip.
Especially for those who live alone, hearing the voice of someone who cares goes a long way.
Don’t let your social media be dominated by anger or fear. Show love. Whether it’s for Donald Trump or protesters in Portland, show love and a little bit of grace.
Now we are going old school. Pen and paper are so yesterday and yet so meaningful. Take the time to share scripture, encouragement and love through written word.
Sharing a little fresh air and fellowship is a loving gesture. Making others feel seen and heard is a simple loving act especially if you bring a couple glasses of lemonade.
Even in places where large assemblies are forbidden, find ways the church can safely gather. Backyard bible studies and outside services are low risk ways to keep on stirring one another to love and good works.
So folks, don’t let the closed doors and calls of banned assemblies discourage you. We are simply being given an opportunity to love better.