What does "church" look like?
This crisis has challenged all of us to reflect on the framework of our lives. And, in some cases, begin the process of deconstructing of previously held world views. Being stripped of familiarity has a way of catapulting us into figuring out where we find security, identity and purpose. Maybe it looks different than we thought.
In a season of quarantine, “Church” as we define it has been altered. Sure, we are aware that Church is not defined by a building. Of course, we recognize that Church knows no borders. Yet, our rhythms and definitions are often informed by culture not necessarily scripture. Suddenly, our Church nuances became disrupted. What does it mean to be in community with each other when we can’t be together in one place?
“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:23-25.
My friend Michelle Van Loon, in her book Becoming Sage, takes us “out of the box” when understanding these verses.
“We remember that commitment to a local body of believers is the primary way in which these relationships are formed, as well as the place in which we share together in corporate worship, learning, communion, and service. But we must also remember that Hebrews 10:24-25 isn’t a goad to get us to attend church. It describes the nature of our lives together, whether we meet at church or run into another believer in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store.”
And I would add: on a zoom call, an online worship service, through a letter, text, or a social media interaction.
Because our church experience has been transformed, we have the opportunities to create new ways of connecting. For me, I have been blessed to watch other congregations’ services online. I also have been able to share time and resources through joining other members of the body of Christ.
"The" church has always had to learn to be flexible and hold together in challenging circumstances. Christians living in other countries and/or through previous generations and even in certain parts of our country are well aware of this truth. Most of us have held onto familiar rhythms with other believers and security in a culturally informed view of the church. Change becomes the pathway to which we can reflect where our identities and purpose lie. Thankfully, the good news is that following Jesus and bearing witness to our passion for building his kingdom here on earth knows no boundaries.