As I write it’s 87 degrees outside. Weather has been changing a lot this year. But, hopefully it will finally be safe to plant flowers, and plan outings. It seems like life has been pretty volatile lately too! We have dealt with Covid, and with lots of violence in the news, and politics. Peo- ple are desperate to live in America, or places where their children can be safe, and provided for.
Church has been challenging as well. I have read many articles which wonder what will be the same, and what will be different going forward. Will people come back to church? Will people stop coming? What programs and activities will be the same, and what needs to change?
I recently read an article that mentioned things that may not be needed in the future. The list included printed bulletins (we’re still not that virtual– and probably will keep printing them), the “greet your neighbor” time, the passing of the offering plate, obsession over attendance, in-person only services, and others.
The article mentioned several things that we need to keep doing. Meeting together– most of us need this, even if we need to keep doing online church also. Singing, eating together, sharing communion, praying together, and baptism were things we also need to keep doing.
I have to admit that there have been a lot of uncertainties for me about church things. I have wondered about our attendance– it is significantly smaller than before Covid, but then that’s not counting the people who are able to join virtually. Many are able to join who would not be able to because of illness, or being away, or fear.
There are some other things we need to consider as we move forward. Have we represented Jesus well during the lockdown, and the past year? I think we have continued to do so. Are we representing Jesus well as we move ahead? What are we learning? What doesn’t need to be restarted? These are valid questions to consider.
I have noticed that the pandemic, and all of the changes have not prevented people from suffering. Cancer, divorce, financial issues, evictions, loneliness, suicide, mental illness, and substance abuse are still part of people’s lives. These are happening to people all around us, and to people in our churches. They need Jesus. They need our prayers. They need hope, and God’s love, and our encouragement. We need to help them with these!
So what’s ahead for church and for us? More ups and downs I suspect. But also, more opportunities to love, and care, and share Jesus with our friends and our families, and with those who are needing Him most! Jesus is still our hope for the world, and for our future as well! From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God! (Psalm 90)