As in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
“Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them.”
It is hard to believe that it has been ten weeks since our church has met together for corporate worship because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ten weeks we’ve missed singing the hymns of our faith together, strengthened by our one voice. Ten weeks of not getting to take communion together, getting to witness our family of God go forward, being reminded of our unity as one body of Christ, together. Ten weeks of missing even the sometimes dreaded “Greeting of Peace” when we enjoy a special word of encouragement, meet a new friend, or even enjoy big hug from someone you haven’t seen in a while. Our worship team and our pastors have done a heroic job of continuing our services online and the times of worship in our homes have been uniquely beautiful and rich. But it is certainly not the same. I don’t know about you, but I am homesick for our church family. I suspect you are too.
The first time I can remember feeling homesick was when I was 10 years old and attended a camp for a week away from my family. I can still remember that awful feeling, “these people don’t really know me and don’t really care about me.” I did not know any of the girls in my cabin and I never did find much joy in that camp experience. What I remember most is that glorious feeling of being united with my parents and siblings when I returned. There is nothing like being at home, surrounded by those who love you and know you.
For many in our church family it has been an extraordinary time of being with your loved ones and family members as you worship each Sunday via the internet. For others, Sundays have been worshipping by yourself, watching a screen, taking in a wonderful message but missing any sense of a church family. Regardless where you fall on this spectrum, not being together as a church family is hard for all of us.
Does not meeting together as a church body mean that God hasn’t been with us? That God isn’t using us? Certainly not! Jesus assures us in John 15 that as we abide in Him, He abides in us and the result is fruitful. But we are also told in Romans 12 that we are one body, best functioning as one, with all of our unique, individual gifts. Together we experience God nourishing us and growing us up to maturity in Him “until we all attain the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13)”. Christ is the head of His church (Colossians 1:18) and we are His bride (Ephesians 5:32). As mysterious that is, as His bride, we are a “she that is a we” – together! And I miss that part, being together, don’t you?
God has been doing amazing things through our church body during this pandemic. As I serve on the Covid-19 Response team I have witnessed the beauty of Christ through our church, giving away food to feed over 500 needy families, and some 600 first responders have been thanked and fed. And I have heard countless stories of what God is doing in and through so many of you as you have been Christ to your neighbors. What a joy to see God use us in these ways and I pray that this joy in generous giving and receiving only continues. And may God use this time of waiting to be together, in our homesickness, to revive His church as never before. So that when we do come together in our sanctuary once again, we will be in awe of all that God has done!