Linda Trumbo recently gave me a link to an article published on ThePlough.com about what it is like to be separated by COVID-19. Does it ever capture what we all feel, but it is also instructive! The article is titled, “The Church is Other People: Why We Need to Gather in Person,” by Noah Van Niel.
Read a short excerpt from the article below, or I encourage you to read the entire article here for our Wednesday devotional this week. May you be blessed, as I was, and remain ready to come back together when the Lord reopens our land. Blessings!
…As I read Paul’s letters, I remember that while he was the church’s great founding theologian – making meaning of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and speaking of them far and wide – most of his effort was given to forming, nurturing, and sustaining communities of people. For Paul, the keystone of the Christian way was the ekklesia, the communal gathering in which one could practice, in the flesh, a way of being together, existing primarily with and for one another. This gathering was the core unit of the faith, and he spilled much ink trying to keep those disparate units together, for without those bodies, there was no Body of Christ.
This remains the primary work of the church. You learn quickly when you enter the ministry that despite the high talk of heavenly calling, we are primarily in the people business. We spend almost as much time preparing for and attending fellowship events and meetings as we do reading scripture and theology. Our presence at picnic tables and potlucks is as important as our presence at the Eucharistic table on Sunday mornings. This is not a distraction from ministry, but an essential part of it. Christian discipleship was never meant to be an isolated endeavor; it has always meant creation of, participation in, and care for community. One’s individual relationship with God is expected to shape how one functions in relationship with others, so facilitating and nurturing real, physical connections between people is a critical function of the church.“The Church is Other People: Why We Need to Gather in Person,” by Noah Van Niel. www.plough.com. August 12, 2020.