The world as we know it has changed. The Coronavirus outbreak is changing the ways in which we live our lives. It is prevented our churches from meeting over the next two weeks, and in Delaware, it looks like it will be the end of May before we’ll be able to meet. As with any disruption in our lives, it is important to reflect and remember what is most important. Through this pandemic, I am re-learning something important. I haven’t really forgotten it, it has just become lost in the shuffle of “professional ministry.” Here it is:
The Church is more than Sunday worship. There is a lot of time and energy that goes into preparing for Sunday worship. I’ll admit that, at times, there doesn’t feel like there is enough time during the week to prepare for. If I am honest, it is often on Sunday morning that pastors get evaluated on because a majority of our congregation is in worship on Sunday where they may not be involved during the week.
The church is more than Sunday worship. Worship is one of our highest priorities. We are also tasked with helping to shape people into disciples of Jesus Christ. We are tasks with living out the mission of Jesus Christ: to heal the sick, to give sight to the blind, to preach good news to the poor. As a pastor, I cannot ask my congregation to do something that I am not doing myself.
It is easy to get sidetracked into what I think is important and need to pause and remember how Jesus lived to show us what is important. As Christians, we are called to join in and participate in the mission of God. There is no clearer opportunity for us than in the pandemic that we find ourselves in the midst of. Sermons, live streaming, and the administration of the church are important on many levels. What is really needed are Christians who will show the never-failing love of God to our neighbors.
In James, the author says that religion that is pure and faultless is to care for the orphans and widows. The best expression of our faith is to care for those who are marginalized and at risk of being exploited. This is the Church at it’s best. Loving. Leading. Serving. Caring. Inspiring. Pointing people to the sacrificial love of Jesus through the sacrificial ways in which we live our lives. This is what really matters as Christians.
In our day-to-day living in this new normal, let us seek to love and serve those around us in ways that are life-giving, sacrificial, and reflect the love that God has for us.