I’m a pretty slow eater at this point and am usually picking at the food on my plate well after everyone else at the table is done, but when I was younger, it seems that I engaged a more Hoover-like mode of mastication-free dining. I remember being a lot more hasty with meal times than my parents would have preferred, and being shot down with a simple phrase when I tried to fly away from the table too quickly…
“You’re not excused.”
Despite what I’m sure must have been more urgent and exciting things to do, I was not allowed to leave the table just quite yet. There was something to accomplish there that was evidently still undone… conversations to be had… dishes to be wash… leftovers to be put away.
I want to say this to my Christian friends today as we wrestle with canceled activities and “services”: We’re not excused. Being unable to meet together does not excuse us from continuing to be the church together. As we sit around frantically trying to adjust to a new (if temporary) normal, we still have work to do. Conversations to be had… relationships to deepen… seeds to be planted… lives to be built. Don’t forget you’re here for a reason.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.-Paul, in a letter to Roman Christians
It’s easy for us to get a little confused about what worship really is. Take this virus imposed quarantine as a reminder: We were never called to hang out and sing songs while our friends and family and neighbors sleep in at home wondering why we’re so weird. It’s a good practice we’ve developed, but we have been called to more. We have been called to take light to dark places so people can see the way out, to take truth to people who’ve been deceived about what life’s really for, and to take life where death seeps in seeking to drown and destroy and ruin everything good that God has made.
That hasn’t changed.
We are called to give all of ourselves to Him, to put our very lives at His disposal for whatever purpose He decides. We are called to live lives that are so filled with faith and hope and love that our neighbors can see the Spirit of Jesus living through us. You have a great opportunity ahead of you. You may not be able to gather in the building you’re used to on Sunday mornings for a while – but don’t let that stop you from worshiping together.
The church that Jesus has drawn together cannot be stopped even by the gates of hell. Go and love your family and love your neighbors. We still have that work to do – even if we have to do it from at least 6 ft. away! The church has always been most productive when it’s dispersed. Let’s go worship by giving all of ourselves everywhere we are.