4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4–5
The apostle Peter speaks of what God is doing in building us together as a spiritual house and a holy priesthood. These two images speak to an identity that rises up out of belief and commitment to Jesus Christ. Our identity is then lived out in how we offer spiritual sacrifices in every context in which we live. We gather to encourage one another, admonish one another, sharpen one another, and care for one another. In this very different time, the church must remember that although the way we gather has changed, it does change the source or scope of our identity. What has primarily changed in this season is the way we live it out. While gathering is vital to long term health as a church we have an opportunity to learn to demonstrate our identity in ways that should last long after the crisis passes.
There is no doubt that our standard practices as a church have changed. It has impacted us, but it should never prevent us from being God’s church. Look for opportunities to worship, study the word, and pray with others in different ways in the days ahead.
I can’t wait for us to gather again in person. I miss being with you all and miss the gatherings that we share. There is so much life in the church being together and we can’t replace it. We should never give up on meeting together, but in this season we have to adapt out of love and care for everyone. It is a sacrifice that speaks love in a practical and selfless way. However, even in the absence of our physical gatherings, I am more confident than ever that God will teach us something life-giving for the future church. In this season we are going to learn about how to live more strongly as His church. Unfortunately, sometimes our practices limit God and limit us. Let’s not stop being the church because our practices have to be altered for a while. Let’s instead learn new practices that can help build God’s Kingdom and show the love of Christ more completely that ever.
Since we will not be gathering this weekend in one place, let’s gather as one people in many places. Here’s a few practical things to help us gather in worship.
May we continue to witness and experience the grace of God in these days.
Take care of yourself and take care of one another!