Who is the Church right now?
A few people have posed this question. What is the church about? Why aren't we hearing more from the church right now? Is the church really only about its own survival?
The Church as an entity is composed of a lot of different groups of people seeking to follow Christ. For me, for this group of believers, here's who we are and what we're about right now:
1. We are learning that our faith should never have been about a building! We are worshipping in our homes, connecting with each other, and learning to adapt to new circumstances as faithful Christians. The building has been our familiar crutch, but we can do so much without it as well!
2. We are connecting, trying to meet people where they are with our online worship, with our daily devotionals, with ways to acknowledge the grief and pain that we all are facing now, as well ways to gratefully lift up what God is doing among us right now.
3. We are supporting those whose families are affected, trying to resource them in every way we can. Part of that means having as our witness that we are staying safe, wearing masks, and being cautious. We are not pushing for in-person worship, as much as we miss each other, because safety comes first. We are finding creative solutions for helping families do their best in challenging times.
4. We are continuing our witness that God is here among us. Many will ask why God doesn't just eradicate COVID-19. Our faith tells us that this world has evil and sin in it because we wanted the freedom to choose our own actions. The cost of that freedom is the reality of bad choices and consequences. It's not that God doesn't have the power, it's that God respects our right to make our own way. At the same time, God never leaves our sides, and God provides what we need to get through what we're facing. So we look for God's work in the world. WE LIVE IN HOPE! And our world really needs hope right now.
5. We are sticking with our partners in ministry and helping as we can. More of it is financial donations now than ever, due to changes in how our community non-profits are helping their clients. We pray, we offer our support, we give financially. We also have the chance to be active sewing masks, making baby hats, and knitting blankets.
This church has not closed, but is out in the world, worshiping anywhere we can and bearing witness to the good that God is bringing among us. My next move as pastor is to transition to more meatless meals. I'm concerned about the employees of meatpacking plants and their working conditions. It's one choice I can make to help ease the demand and bear witness to the love of Christ for all people, especially those who have to choose daily between potential health risks and income to support their families. How is your witness playing out today? What does your faith call you to do in response to our world situation? How are you showing Christ's love and compassion for others?