As Joe’s midweek email said, a midweek communion service at St Andrew’s will start next week and Sunday services will recommence in September.
What are your hopes as we are able to meet again? It will be good to be in our building again. It will be good to say hello to one another and welcome newcomers face to face once more.
But let’s not stop there.
The Bible’s vision for church is much larger. It’s the vision of being the body of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Although Jesus rose into heaven as a physical man, he lives in each Christian believer by his Spirit. And we are, therefore, united to him and one another as his body here on Earth. This unity we enjoy may not be physical or visible as we see it – but it is nonetheless real.
And no human body does well if its limbs are in different places for a prolonged period of time!
By God’s grace we have been able to remain as Jesus’ body throughout lockdown – even though we’ve been apart. But we mustn’t lose the Bible’s vision of Jesus’ body, his church, and specifically our family at St Andrew’s, as being the intertwined people of God.
Our relationships, the working out of our deep bonds as Christian believers, count.
And so let’s be committed to one another as we meet again – not merely to seeing the building or a brief hello.
Just see how this vision is stated in Colossians chapter 3:
Verse 12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Verse 15: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16: Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17: And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
It’s been a great encouragement to me that so many of us don’t need reminding of these things. The testimony of many of the church family in recent months has been gratitude for being loved by others within the body of Christ as we’ve rung and chatted, messaged, posted and texted.
But as we meet again we’ll have the opportunity to see many with whom we’ve not made touch through lockdown.
Colossians reminds us that we are loved by God in order to deeply love one another. We are to be continually thankful. We are to seek peace and forgiveness. We are to speak the message of Christ to one another. We are to sing together (all the more loudly when it’s allowed!).
So let’s do these things. Let’s continue to grow as the body of Christ. And let’s take special consideration for those who we still won’t see for a while – and make the effort to love them even if they’re not in the building.
With much love in Christ,