March 26, 2020by Reverend Dan on March 26, 2020
“Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.”
Yesterday I shared the thoughts of one of the youths of our church. She was processing and trying to understand what’s going on in our world and she was using her Bible to find answers. Pretty deep stuff for one so young. In my own nimble way, I skirted the question she asked. But that’s OK, she and I emailed back and forth a few times and I think she’s off scouring the scriptures for more. Would it be that we were all that reliant on the Good Book.
And now, equal time. After they retired a number of years ago, Art and Nancy moved into our community, and they are one of the most genuine, pleasant couples I’ve ever met. I loved them right away. And then I found out they love bluegrass music as much as I do. They just kept getting better and better. They were even from “up north”, like me. One day I just packed my bags way up there in Richmond, Virginia, and moved down here to North Carolina. But when they retired, they decided to drive their U-Haul here from all the way up in Massachusetts. And we here are all the better for it because they’re now part of our lives.
Anyway, Art sent me an email, and I’d like to share his thoughts with you. He said, “Covid-19 may affect us—but not vanquish us. Under Governor's orders we may not assemble on Sunday morning as we are wont to do. Why do we go to church? To commune with our God in His House. But not just to pray, because we can pray anywhere, any time. I do that, and so do many others. But many of us enjoy gathering with other URC members within the walls of URC. We all face the altar, with the warm knowledge and sensation that the other church members are gathered around us... WE ARE the church. Then came the Coronavirus, social distancing, and Governor Cooper's order regarding gatherings. I, for one, strongly miss the Sunday morning closeness with the church. So, what did I do this week? I dug out the URC 2015 Registry, with its 152 color photographs of the majority of the church members, and I leafed through the photos of our URC brothers and sisters. The coldness of the gathering ban was banished, and I felt a warm closeness again. Dig out your Registry.
By the time I finished reading the email, I was shouting “Amen”! It made me remember that song from Vacation Bible School – “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together. All the little children, all around the world, yes we’re the church together.”
Art’ so right. We gather at the church “house”. But it’s the folks in that building who are the church. That’s who Christ laid the foundation for on Calvary, and that church made up of believers is still solid as a rock today. Maybe a little weathered through the years because of hate and prejudice . . . disease and war . . . lack of compassion and indifference. But the bride of Christ is still there, reminding us that we are never alone, and that we are social beings, created to live in community and love with our neighbors. (And we all know the answer to, “And who is my neighbor?”, don’t we?!)
I agree with Art. If you’re feeling lonely, pull out your directory. And if you don’t have one handy, login to the hard drive of your mind and bring up those wonderful memories God gives us that remind us that even when we are separated in body, it is love that binds us together in spirit, no matter what the distance.
You know, this devotional writing is turning into a pretty good gig. I’ve got the folks at church writing my devotionals for me and they don’t even realize it. I hope they don’t read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer anytime soon, because if they do, that whole chapter where Tom gets others to whitewash the fence for him is going come back to bite me!
“Father, Thank you for reminding of the friends you have sent us whom we share the journey of life and faith with. They are indeed a blessing. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”