The messages in these two emails are miles apart—total opposites—yet they both ring true. Almost everyone I have spoken with over these past five months has shared some sense of the confusion, disruption, lostness ... the "fog" of that second email. I've felt it. And yet into that fog comes the voice of God: "Do not be afraid. There is opportunity in this." I need to hear that. Even though fear has not been my own response, I still need to hear the calming, confident, sovereign voice of God ... of the Savior who still saves.
Perhaps today you, too, need to hear those words from God. Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1). I will be with you. I will never leave you—and I never have. The fog may linger, but God lingers, as well ... longer and stronger than the mere mist of fog.
Out of these reflections, two truths are growing on me: first, as the family of God, we need to gather; and second, we need to gather "daily," not just on Sundays. Consider this: if we had already been gathering in smaller groups throughout the week before COVID hit, then the short-term "loss" of gathering on Sundays would not have felt so huge.
Let me put it another way: there is nothing we can do on Sundays that we can't do in small groups Monday through Saturday.
When the church was born in Acts 2, several things marked it: devotion to God's Word, fellowship, eating together, prayer, praising God, powerful works of the Holy Spirit, generous sharing with one another to meet physical needs, daily gatherings in both the temple and homes. All of those things can happen any day of the week. And what resulted was that the community around the new church had a good impression of the Christians, and more and more people came into the faith.
Being the church is not about gathering in a large group once a week; it's about doing life together day by day. That is what The Journey Church needs. That is what our community needs from us. That, I am convinced, is what God wants from us ... and for us. That is the opportunity God has laid before us. I pray we don't miss the opportunity.
For those of you who have continued to worship with us online but not in person, I'd like to hear from you: how are you staying connected to the rest of the community of faith (aside from Sundays online)? How are you caring for and being cared for by others in these days of social distance and isolation? How can we as a community of faith grow in those areas? Please call or email me.
This Sunday we will also have a brief business meeting after the service, to vote on a change to our bylaws that we announced a few weeks ago. If you need a refresher on that, want to submit a ballot online, or need information about how to submit your vote without being physically present, please click here.
I look forward to being back with you again this Sunday ... live and online.