Life is weird right now, isn’t it? The novelty of living 100% of your life online was fun for a little bit but now it’s just annoying. We are ready to go shopping without wearing a mask or having people glare at us for not wearing a mask. We are ready for sports to return and many of us are definitely ready to go to church!!
But I think this season feels weird right now for 2 reasons…
1) We are all unsettled by the racial tension in our country and 2) because are hard wired for community and we aren’t getting to experience it.
We are wired for eye to eye conversations with our friends, literal pats on the back from our mentors, hand-shakes from our church family and trying to hold in our laughter when our friend does something ridiculous during the sermon. We were made for community. Which means we will thrive in community. Community with people that have all different backgrounds, skin colors and personalities.
The difficulty is that we are all trying to navigate this situation as best we can and determine when our family should gather in that community. Some of us are ready. Some are not. Both are legitimate stances on the issue. Maybe you think this is one massive overreaction or maybe you are still planning to hunker down for the foreseeable future. That’s not my point. My point is that whether it’s this week or in 3 months – in person community is a must for the follower of Christ to thrive no matter if they are 7 or 77.
The author of Hebrews puts it this way…
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25
This verse isn’t for the pastor to share so he can guilt individuals to come to church so the numbers can be high. This verse is for the believer. It’s for the Christian that is struggling to make it one day without giving in to the addiction. It’s for the follower of Jesus who is struggling with thoughts of lust, anger or self-doubt. It’s for the Christian who is experiencing one medical issue after another. This verse is pointing the followers of Jesus to gather together because WE NEED EACH OTHER.
It’s showing us that a key part of how we will ever live out this Christian faith is to have people around us spurring us on towards a life of love and good deeds. It’s showing us that when we surround ourselves with a community of believers we can have a deeper and more meaningful faith in Jesus than we can in isolation.
The truth is that we are a living case study of what happens when followers of Jesus stop gathering. We get grumpy, irritable, bored, and increasingly stuck in our sin.
There is a reason scripture implores us to gather. When we have no one spurring us along it starts to show. And the truth is that listening to our pastor preach on Facebook probably doesn’t qualify as community for most.
Iron sharpens iron right? Unfortunately, some of us are going months without someone sharpening us.
So my encouragement to you is simple… when you are ready, when you feel comfortable getting out – go to church.
Sit 6 feet apart from the Senior in High School and let them vent about not getting to have prom. Sit and listen to the empty nester who started a new hobby or the mom with little kids who is at her wits end. Let the person who just went 2 months with no income cry out in fear. Listen to the individual that is processing this racial tension from a different perspective than you. Sit and listen. Sit and sharpen. And when the opportunity comes (and it will come) sit and spur your church family on to love and good deeds. Encourage them. Love them. Be with them.
Yes, “Couch Church” is convenient. Yes, you can listen to a sermon while wearing your PJ’s or sitting out at the lake. But it will have an effect on the lives of you and your family. Couch Church can’t be our long-term solution. Followers of Christ were designed to thrive in community. Our kids were designed to thrive in community. So when you and your family have made the important decision that you are ready. When you are at peace with the decision to return– return!!!
I’ll see you at church!!!