Longing to Meet Together
In case you missed it, yesterday’s sermon focused on the personal access we have to God’s heavenly throne room. It’s specifically on account of Jesus’ sacrifice that we enjoy this incredible privilege. But, to paraphrase Ben Parker: with great privilege comes great responsibility. Because we’ve been granted this privileged access, Hebrews admonishes us to draw near to God in full assurance, hold fast to our confession, and consider how to stir each other up to love and good works (Heb 10:19-25). These things don’t happen in isolation but in the context of the Church. This is why, for Christians, neglecting to meet together simply isn’t an option.
As we’ve sheltered in place, “meeting together” has gone digital. It appears that restriction will soon come to an end, and we’ll be free to gather physically on a limited basis. For that, we should rejoice. As Paul urges us, though, we must not use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh but for loving service in the body of Christ (Gal 5:13-15). Regardless of what our local leaders say or don’t say, insistence upon our freedom without due regard for the consequences of our actions may well harm the brothers and sisters we’re called to love—not to mention our neighbors. For that reason, we pray for the Lord’s protection, wisdom, and grace.
What will it look like to “meet together” in the coming weeks and months? Casey and I laid out the church’s plans yesterday. You can find them in more detail here. Lest there be any doubt about our desire for you during this season: we want you to gather together, but only if you feel safe in doing so and you follow the appropriate precautions. Embodied gathering is the biblical ideal (Acts 2:42-47; 2 John 12; etc.), and the sooner we can get back to in-person meetings, the better it’ll be for all of us.
We must each be convinced in our hearts as to what it looks like to obey Scripture’s command to gather. In our church, there is a spectrum of opinions about the coronavirus and necessary precautions. Some will be reluctant to leave their homes for a while. Others are ready to ditch their masks and share a couch with friends today. Most of us fall somewhere in between. Wherever you are on that spectrum, I pray we would all bear with one another in love and grace. If your brother declines your invitation to come over and worship, don’t begrudge his caution. If your sister doesn’t see the need to clean her house and require face masks, don’t be afraid to stay home or find another gathering to join.
Whether you think strong Christian faith entails gathering en masse or keeping to yourself, the Bible has a word for us all: “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom 15:1). I spoke about this on Friday’s Daily Office; regardless of where we stand concerning COVID-19, shutdowns, and reopenings, God is calling us to unity in Christ. We may disagree with one another, but that does not mean we have to be disagreeable in doing so. Even in conflict, there is love (Prov 27:17; Eph 4:31-32).
So, brothers and sisters, remember to love one another (cf. 1 John 3:18). Do gather together for Lord’s Day worship as you’re able. Whatever you decide, we’ll continue to lead you in worship across pixels and place as we work toward the day when we can be together in body and spirit.
For more specifics on our reopening plan and policy, click here.
For a list of commonly asked questions and answers, click here.