During the lockdown period we were very happy to have those electronic devices which made it possible to still have contact with each other. It would be wrong to think that we can be connected all the time with other believers, sitting on the couch in our pyjamas, like sitting side beside each other in a pew.
We physically grieved over not getting to gather with the people. Yes, we put people’s health as a priority and went to a live stream as a means to stay connected…but live stream was never meant to replace in person services.
There were people who questioned if an electronic virtual meeting could be a worthy breaking of bread service. Naturally, it never can come in place for a meeting together in one place. The experience of connection also can never be like gathering in real life.
Like many churches we do hear many people around us saying that “church is no longer relevant” are the same ones that claim “the Bible is outdated”. We too have to contend with the loss of members as older members die, and younger ones do not seem to find their way to our community.
After all, we live in a time when there is not much appetite among youngsters to attend church services. Worse, many are not interested in God and commandments at all and leave religious life far behind.
Faith in God is a very weak thing. Some may have something of faith in a divine being but fail to ask who or whatever that being may be and how we as human beings should stand in relation to it.
Those who say the Bible is too old-fashioned and that keeping church is also something of the past, not for our contemporary world, are equally wrong on both accounts.
People should know that the church is not just a building and holding a church does not have to happen in a church building. Many probably would be surprised when we say
The church is not a denomination.
The church is not an organisation, it’s a living organism.
The church, or the Body of Christ, is a living thing, with several people expressing their union with Jesus Christ, the son of God. For us it is the expression of “Wanting to live in Christ’s city”, hence “Christadelphia” and “Christadelphians”. For us there is reason enough to find hope with a Foundation and live in Christadelphia or Christ’s city.
As out of church Christians we are not out of date, like so many might think. They should know that as a living organisation we grew up with the changing times and as such found also changes in our society. You can not compare the 19th century to a 21st century meeting. Thank goodness we evolved with the times and allowed our costumes but also the accompaniment of the songs as well as the form of the songs to change with the changing times.
You should not expect stale cake in our services. We are a composition of contemporary people with contemporary customs and contemporary jobs, as well as contemporary desires. We are also not some old stones or bricks, or some concrete, or as church not a building made with wood, brick and mortar:
“ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 2:5 ASV)
Some people we speak to express disillusionment with their church but have never taken steps to see what it is like at other churches. Many are stuck in their family traditions and do not see the possibility of breaking with them, or simply do not want to.
“I don’t need to go to a building to worship God, I can worship Him at home or on the lake, or wherever…”
and yes, you can worship God anywhere and we should, but do you really empty yourself out and pour out your devoted worship to Him? Maybe? We have found that folks that use this excuse, don’t. It’s just an excuse.
Those who have been hurt by their former church should realise that they should not generalise the person who hurt them or did something wrong to them with “the Church”. They should come to see the truth though, that it was not the church that did hurt them, but a sinful person who did.
Whatever happened to us, we may not stand still and should move forward in our faith. Hanging onto that trash will only destroy you, not the one(s) that hurt you.
Jesus never intended for Christians to do life alone. His heavenly Father also did not create human beings to be on their own. They should come and live together, sharing with each other life. We were created for fellowship and community with other believers.
You and I can’t “be” the church if we’re not part of a local body of believers.
If we are going to be a Christ centred people we need to be a church centred people, because that’s where Christ centres his love. We cannot love Jesus and hate the church or ignore it’s pivotal position to our lives.
Even if we use further Zoom, do not let that keep you at home, but try to enjoy being together with other brothers and sisters as much as possible, worshipping and praising Jehovah and showing our love and commitment to each other.
Not staying alone in your search for truth
How should we worship God? #14 True worship
John Launchbury’s study: Manifesting Christ
Lovely to have so many people joining this morning service
Thought for today in CoViD times: He looked round about (Peter Banyard)
The Big conversation – Antagonists
Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building
Having a small church mentality
Wanting to live in Christ’s city