Growing up in small town Mississippi taught me several realities. One of the realities is that for many Christ followers, the church is a destination. As a church body gathered together, we have talked about the importance of gathering together and the danger of anchoring our relationship with Christ to the gathering. You might remember that as we have been inviting the Holy Spirit to train our hearts to long for Christ we have been reminded that even in the early church, the church was a passage way, or a fulcrum, that helped turn people from an old life to a new life in Christ. The church is defined by the believers who make up the body, and as the body gathers together a full expression of our worship and allegiance radiates in worship to God. This gathering, though, is not the end result of our faith. Knowing Christ fully is the end result of our faith. Glorifying God is the end result of our faith. Notice Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13:12.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV
One day we will know Christ fully, and the days we live now are days filled with wonder, challenge, joy, and sorry on that journey to knowing Him fully. Christ followers around the world daily face persecution and hardship on their journey toward knowing Christ. Gathering together is impossible for many of our brothers and sisters in other places. In the United States, we are faced with a temporary limitation as we consider what our government leaders and medical leaders have asked our society to do in an effort to contain the new virus that seems to have captured the world for a time. This temporary limitation does not have to defeat us, though it may discourage us. Together we as a body of believers can turn the table on the virus and its affects by capturing the moment instead. This opportunity is our chance to show the world how real the Holy Spirit is in our lives. Not gathering as a large group does not have to diminish the influence we have with friends and family in our community and beyond. Let's join together to be the church in the world over the next few days and weeks. I am reminded of what happened in the early part of Acts. Would you consider stopping for a moment, reaching for your Bible, and turning to Acts 8:1-8?(www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+8%3A1-8&version=ESV) A persecution against the church in Jerusalem caused the church to scatter to regions all over the world, just as Christ as told them in Acts 1:8. The church gathered became the church scattered. From that scattering, a worldwide movement of the Spirit took hold, and the message of Christ could not be contained any longer.
Could it be that God will use a temporary scattering of His people to spark the revival we have been longing for and praying for? Could it be that God will use you during this time to reflect His character so brightly that others will see the difference Christ makes? We could respond in fear and frustration, in disgust and defeat. Or we could respond in victory and in hope that the resurrected Christ is not limited to a building or to our weekly gathering. Will you embrace this time to personally develop your walk with Christ, to know Him more fully, and to honor Him more authentically? Check back to this site for various resources and helps during this time. Most of all, turn to the Word of God. Seek His face. Let others see Jesus in you.