As our church leadership team met recently to formulate a plan for responding to the crisis before us, one person spoke up and said “Christians are supposed to get together…that’s what we do!” And he was absolutely right. We shared his sentiment.
We all agonized over the thought of our church not being able to assemble for the foreseeable future. We supported the strategy behind social distancing, but we struggled with not being able to serve people in the flesh.
Gathering together has been a part of the rhythm of life for believers for millennia. Coming together weekly for worship, prayer, and fellowship has always been a normal and vital part of life for the faithful. The only circumstances that have disrupted this rhythm have been things like – you guessed it – pandemics and war.
As one of my children asked, why would we miss not being able to go to church? Because, as the writer of Hebrews says, we are encouraged when we meet together:
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. -Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)
There’s just something empowering about gathering for eye-to-eye, hand-to-hand, heart-to-heart interaction. But since we can’t do that right now, is there any way we can we still encourage one another? Absolutely, yes. Here are a few possibilities:
- Pray for someone. Praying for your church in general is great, but praying for someone by name is even better. They may not know that it is you praying for them, but they will know someone is.
- Contribute uplifting social media posts. If you hang out in these realms, be salt and light, especially now. Be thoughtful about the message behind your posts. Does it represent Jesus well? Does it build up, or tear down?
- Send a personal text. Let someone (or maybe a group of people) know you were thinking of them. While you’re at it, paste a Bible verse or quote that encourages you.
- Put something yummy in the mail or on someone’s doorstep. A couple in our church is expecting a baby anytime. After they get home from the hospital, even in this restricted period, they can expect some love from their church in the form of warm meals delivered to their doorstep.
This is just a beginning. During this time of social distancing we’ve been asked to temporarily forsake the assembling of ourselves together, contrary to our deepest desires and convictions. But that doesn’t mean we have to forsake encouraging one another. That we cannot do.
By the way, you are loved. You are wanted. Be encouraged.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.