Today was our church’s first “normal” service in a year. We had been meeting with every other row blocked off and having spacing in the remaining rows between family groups. Today, that was all removed. The only abnormal thing was that we were given a card to put at either end of our group to signify a space between you and others. Historically, setting down your coat or Bible served this function just as well, so I see the card as redundant.
There were people sitting in front of and behind me. There were people not far away to my right. I could hear other people as we sang.
That sounds kinda trite, but hear me out. There are what I like to call “one anothers” found primarily in the epistles. These are expectations that God has for those who call upon His name when they gather together. Most of those expectations have been adjusted to comply with governmental requirements and to assuage the fear of death that some of the attendees might have. Sorry, I couldn’t not include that one.
Being in attendance and participating in the service doesn’t complete the instructions given in these “one anothers” but it goes far further than you may think. Societies have been paused now for a good year. Even those like myself who try to live as normal a life as I can in the midst of this plandemic are feeling the fatigue of life. We are more isolated from real human contact than before and the divisiveness just gets exhausting. Being able to actually hear someone near me singing about Christ and Him crucified right along with me and my family is a step toward removing that isolation.
We were created to be in community with our creator and others worshiping that same creator. The church should never again allow the state to dictate what that looks like. The church is the gathering of God’s people, not a commercial for unbelievers to see how cool we are. We need each other. We have always needed each other.
So as you attend services, looks for opportunities to “one another” someone. Shake a hand. Sing it out. Be there. It matters now more than ever before.