This week, we began what could be our second long and indefinite lockdown in the past year. I know for many of us it hasn’t been easy, but if we take a step back and consider the bigger picture, although it may be hard, we still don’t really have much to complain about. There’s food (and toilet paper) on the shelves, heat in our homes, and we have technological wonders such as FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype which although limited, allow us to still be together, apart. And though our building is closed for the time being, our worship is not. When we consider what’s happened around our globe over the past 50 years, any form of religious freedom we have at all is something to be incredibly thankful for.
To be perfectly honest, I actually really enjoy the lockdown times. It’s true, I am a little bit introverted, and so it’s nice to have a bit more time with just my family, but much more than that, I enjoy lockdown because it forces us to confront a question. The question is this; “Is our church more than a weekly meeting?” Because if it isn’t, we should be afraid. We should be fighting back that we can’t meet together. We should be angry that people are cancelling ‘church’.
However, if we are more than just a weekly get-together, then lockdowns are actually an opportunity. Think of it this way: If we have become so used to the idea of church being a lesson study, some music, a sermon, and a short visit after church, then this is actually a chance for us to get creative. Our job that Jesus left us, was to go and make disciples. Not to make sure we aren’t late for 10:00 Sabbath School so we can be blessed (not that there’s anything wrong with being on time!), but for each of us to actually go and make disciples - a task that I think we’ve had some trouble with over the years. Here’s where lockdown comes in. Right now, there are a lot of hurting, lonely, angry, and scared people. What did Jesus say? Oh yes, “The fields are ripe.” The only problem is that we can’t use our usual go-to tools. We have to get a bit creative.
So how do we reach out and touch the lives of the people around us? How about by starting with what we miss from … our weekly meeting? (I almost said Church there, but that’s really the whole point, no?)
Do you miss sharing time and our prayers? Our church list is perfect for phoning each other up, sharing our hearts, and praying together.
Are you missing music? ’Tis the season… maybe we should try taking our families and going “Sabbath Caroling”. Knock on people’s doors, drop off a loaf of bread, and sing Amazing Grace.
Is it the lesson studies you’re missing? You could watch them online, or even better, you could fire up the Zoom machine and have a bible study with your friend or neighbor.
Are you missing potluck? I know I sure am. But there are people in our community who are missing regular meals. How about taking a donation to the food closet, or to the Christmas hampers? Maybe you have an extra pan of cookies, or an extra package of moose meat. I bet there’s people in your own neighborhood who would absolutely love to accept them, and maybe to have a nice outdoor socially-distanced conversation as well.
Think these ideas are silly? That’s okay. Come up with some of your own! Just because we’re inside alone, doesn’t mean we’re stuck in neutral. The gospel (the good news) is far too big and wonderful to be contained by a lockdown. And let’s face it… there’s a lot of people who could really use some good news right now.
So for now, stay safe, stay home, but don’t let those spiritual cobwebs form around you. Remember the lost, the lonely, the hurting and the scared, and let Jesus be your guide.
Speaking of Jesus, I love His final words to His disciples, because in times like these, they are the answer to the question, “How?”
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” - Acts 1:8
PC: Image by StockSnap from Pixabay