Good afternoon folks. I’m thinking about my day, my thoughts, my tasks, and my relationships. I realize I need hope and I need to bring hope. This song by Switchfoot really expresses what I want to say. “Hallelujah Nevertheless.” Hallelu=Let us praise jah=God. What brings you hope today?

Miss Your Faces

As I was thinking about the church today, I have felt loss.  I miss seeing people in person and not over a screen.  How many times can I look up into the nostril of someone who is holding their phone on their lap instead of out in front of them.  How many times can I think, “You have really nice nose holes.”  Maybe its time for some exploratory mining, “Booger Nuggets” (Thanks Bob and Doug).

We’ve had a few people over to sit in our carport (At least two meters apart).  Had lunch on our driveway with others.  Gone for walks as a family almost everyday.  Now I am sitting in my office thinking about this change.  I’ve noticed that less and less people are talking about getting back to the way things were.  More people are talking and thinking about what will be the new normal.  I think this is a good thing.  It gives me hope.  I believe something had to stop the world.  Our pace, or maybe I should say, my pace was not sustainable.  I was forgetting people, forgetting responsibilities, forgetting being present with others.  Forgetting those close to me.  Now, I feel like I have some breathing room (I emphasize feel because I have been busy in this season). 

Now I have a chance to stop and see how much I love the church as the people not the building.  The building is sitting empty.  We have a few spots set apart for filming and broadcasting.  A few of us still come into the office to get some essentials done.  I used to hate it when people said, “I’ll meet you at church.”  Sometimes I wanted to say, “BUT WE’RE RIGHT HERE!  We can’t go to church, we are the church!”  I see the convenience of saying, “I’m going to church”, instead of, “I’m going to the building where some of the church gathers every Sunday to sing and learn together.”  Now we get to say, “I’m going to church online”, instead of “I’m going to watch a service online with some of the folks that make up the church.”  I love gathering as the church.  I think coming together is an essential spiritual, social, emotional and physical component in the life of a follower of Jesus.  “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing” (Hebrews 10:25) is just as important now as it was before our formal gatherings stopped.

But stopping has brought me back to my earlier, more idealistic years in being part of the church (Again, the people not the building).  I miss being together as a family of believers.  Something I forgot.  I think of the words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.”

So, I say to my friends and family in Christ, “I need you and you need me.”  To those who don’t follow Jesus I say, “This is a pretty great family to be part of and you are welcome.  You just have to put up with Cousin Karen who thinks holding the phone at an angle that gives clear line of sight into her frontal lobe is the way to engage online.”  We still love you Karen, and all eight of your nose hairs.  You are my sister in Christ, and I am for you! (Karen is a purely fictional character and bears no resemblance to the other nostrils I have seen.)