How often lately have you heard the phrase: “We’ll get through this together!” It has been a major theme of the coronavirus pandemic. It is supposed to be encouraging, and comforting to hear this. Yet, the longer the crisis goes on, the more people are feeling NOT together. People are separated, social distanced, and quarantined. People are afraid, and some wonder if we will ever get through this…let alone together.
Humans are social creatures. Most of us at least. Some people can survive being alone better than others because they are intro- verts…or because they have hobbies, and activities that they do alone. However, many are suffering greatly by being NOT together. They are of all ages. Children, adults, parents, and grandparents are feeling the isolation of loneliness. We are NOT together, as we need to be.
So, we are trying some new things to give people a little togetherness. Summer worship services at the lake, and also indoors have been one way of getting folks together. Yet we miss eating together, or going places together. We are looking forward to resuming some fall activities like Sunday School classes and youth activities. Brown bag lunches at the park have been fun. With school starting up again, kids are able to connect socially again some, despite those masks which are such a nuisance.
I believe being together is essential for Christians and churches too. Yes, there is fear and risk in being together. We might spread the vi- rus. But, being apart may tend to affect our “spiritual fire.” One great fear for people during this time of shutdown, has been the loss of strength. Older persons who become less active, and who are shut-in tend to lose stamina, and muscle tone- unless they are deliberate in keeping fit. Likewise, spiritual lives may grow weaker if people are isolated and not coming together to fellowship. Yet how can we do togetherness safely? Hopefully we can work through these things with help from one another.
BEING TOGETHER AS A CHURCH COMMUNITY IS POWERFUL! Here are reasons why it is important to figure out creative ways of gathering together, to worship and fellowship and pray.
1) TOGETHERNESS IS HELPFUL WHEN BEGINNING NEW THINGS: Acts 1. 14 speaks of the beginning of the Church. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:14” The early disciples spent lots of time together, praying, singing, eating, talking, probably laughing. As a result they grew in faith, and others joined them.
2) TOGETHERNESS IS UNIFYING: All the believers were together and had everything in common. Acts 2:44 When people are united in their hearts and minds there is a good feeling of peace. Joy and hope abound. Sharing common goals, and sharing life builds us up.
3) TOGETHERNESS CREATES GLADNESS AND SINCERITY: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Act 2. 46. We all need some gladness, and some meaningful dialogue. Caring and being cared about, makes us feel like we matter…and have a purpose.
During September I will share some messages about some other powerful benefits of being together in church with other be-
Here are some coming themes:
- TOGETHER WE ARE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE FAITH Together there is strength, joyful music, hope, encour- agement, victory
- TOGETHER WE SHARE THE FELLOWSHIP OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4. 12-13) “There is a strength we discover in suffering that joins people, and brings them closer”
- TOGETHER WE BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS (Galatians 6. 1-4). There are people who help carry the load, and who make our journey lighter
- TOGETHER WE HAVE A WONDERFUL FATHER We’re part of the family of God. (Mt 6.9, John 1.12)As we have watched people’s reaction to the coronavirus, there has been a lot of hostility, and division, and craziness. People are not together, out there. But, as people who believe in Jesus, and who worship God let us remember: THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. We are STRONGER TOGETHER.
May the Lord give us wisdom as we learn to stay strong, TOGETHER! Pastor Mark