A post for my friends @ Renew.org
When church life changes because of situations out of our control, how can we
use the season as an opportunity to pursue God?
Our church was regaining her rhythm, as attendance and participation was on the increase. I was back teaching in the classroom on Sundays and leading a discipleship group. Then, we turned the page to a new year . . . and omicron hit. All those gains were quickly lost. Quarantines and cancellations returned, and it felt like the clock turned back a whole year. I was back to “doing church” from my home computer screen for a couple of weeks. So, when it was time for our discipleship group to gather again, I got there early.
I walked the halls—in great longing. I remembered. I prayed. I reminisced.
The halls came back to life, as I heard the delightful noises echo across the past couple of hard years. Memories of the hustling and bustling blurred my vision and skipped across my mind.
How I’ve missed it. Missed her, the Church. The committees, ministries, service projects. The bursting calendar. Past programs, events, activities.
Ah, those pre-Covid days.
Just when we thought we were easing back in, another wave hit. And we tumbled back into cancellations at church. And the void left a deep ache within.
Anything that dis-members the Body, that isolates us and keeps the people of God from connecting, is not of God. But that’s not to say He can’t bring good from the season of closed doors. It has sent us out of the building and into our communities. It has, in a sense, opened wide our doors, with cyber access beyond our walls. And it has created in church people a deeper hunger and greater appreciation. While we are asking God to bring an end to this terrible era in history, we can also pray for restoration and revival in His Church.
The void can bring to the forefront of our minds the work the Lord can do within each disciple, as we prayerfully wait before Him.
Here’s one of my considerations: With all the scale-backs and cancellations, it’s as though church activities have been stripped away, if you will, and we are left standing bare before the Lord. Our hearts laid open, with nothing on the church front to run interference.
We’re not busy serving on committees. Our calendars aren’t packed full of church activities, our program participation is pared down to the bare essentials: us, Jesus, and Jesus’ mission for us. Discipleship without a lot of human traditions and the temptations that come along with them.
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a real searching for me. And a revealing. It’s been a cleansing. And a healing. By the Lord’s compassionate, purifying touch, he’s sanctifying us.
While I do long to be at the church building, surrounded by His people, doing His work, this can still be a fruitful season, still before Him, as He does a much-needed work within. Because when nothing comes between me and the Lord, He accomplishes much.
This hiatus creates opportunity to probe what’s at the core of my walk with Jesus. In this altered season,
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