Why Being Discouraged About Not Gathering as the Church is A Good Sign
COVID-19 has presented challenges none of us has faced in our lifetime.
Government officials all over the world are requiring social distancing and banning gatherings of more than 10 people (in some cases 2 people) in an effort to slow the spread of this virus plaguing the nations. Because of this tactic, local churches have not gathered. For some of us, this has been weeks, for others, it has been a few months.
As many of us are restricting our movements or self- quarantining, we have given thanks to God for technology as we've utilized it in an effort to stay connected with each other. Many churches (including mine) are doing online sermons and songs, but deep down (maybe not so deep down) we all know this isn't how it's meant to be. No, the church isn't a building, but the building is where our church gathers and we have been prevented from gathering for a while now. Don't underestimate the value of place. Place is where the church gathers.
Now more than ever in our lifetime, we are realizing that the local church is meant to gather corporately on the Lord's Day. We aren't meant to be clustered in our homes unable to look each other in the eyes as we feast on the means of grace God's given to His church. What we are doing in our homes right now isn't corporate worship and we shouldn't call it that. We aren't together in a place with God's established government (elders/pastors and deacons) worshipping as God intends for His church to worship. Yes, you can worship as individuals, but we are a corporate people too. We are the body of Christ and the body of Christ is made up of gathered local churches.
So, we are discouraged and some of us are wrestling with depression. And I want to suggest that the feelings of discouragement and depression are telling us something.
They are telling us that God intends for His church to gather at least weekly together (Acts 2:42; 20:7; Hebrews 10:25).
They are telling us that singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are best done while looking one another in the eyes (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
They are reminding us that the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper are intended to be observed/taken corporately as God's gathered church (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34).
They are reminding us that we persevere in our faith in the community God has given us (Hebrews 3:12-14).
They are reminding us that gathering on the Lord's Day is a dim and imperfect picture of what we will be doing for all eternity in the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21:9-27).
So we are discouraged. We may even be depressed. But here is the good news- your emotions may be telling you, 'this isn't how things are meant to be'. So the moment the elders of your church prayerfully decide to open the doors, come. Come and be refreshed by those means the Lord has given us to worship Him and be spiritually built up in Christ. Come with a fresh, biblical perspective on the importance of Lord's Day corporate worship.
This is the first article in a series of articles on Lord's Day Corporate Worship