What a crazy year it has been for the Church. The Coronavirus has caused pastors and church leaders to engage our hearts and minds in ways we never have before. We did so, and continue to do so, with full confidence in God’s sovereignty and goodness.
It was so difficult to see our church auditoriums completely empty. We learned how to preach to a camera. We discovered ways to stay connected. We trusted the Lord to provide a time when our people could meet face-to-face again.
Thankfully, that started happening. We have been able to get back into our worship spaces, slowly but surely. The number of worshipers in the church building is starting to increase. We are taking precautions, but we are meeting. And it is amazing to see and hear one another.
But not all are there. We still have many, many precious people and wonderful families who are remaining home. They are home because they still feel uncomfortable with the virus. They are home because they have elderly family members who they worry about. They are home because they work in high risk environments and are cautious about bring a threat to the church family. They are home because they simply feel safer being home.
To those folks who are staying home and who we love, I want to say this: That’s where you should be. It’s ok. Please do not feel guilty.
To be certain, most pastors – including me – are concerned about members developing habits exclusively for convenience and ease. For the person who feels comfortable going into crowds during the week but stays home Sunday morning only because it is easier and quicker and less demanding, then some soul searching needs to happen. The Christian faith is not a convenient faith.
But for many in the church, that isn’t the case. There remains concern and that’s OK.
For those of us who are attending in person again – we should be so thankful for the opportunity to worship alongside one another. Nothing is more important. But we are not the spiritual elite of the church. We are not greater than our brother or sister who is at home. And by all means, we must never look around the room and assume a missing church member is due to their lack of faith or lack of desire or lack of commitment.
So to those who will be worshiping from home this Sunday – we are grateful for your presence and we love you. You certainly don’t need anyone’s approval to do what you feel is best for you and your family. Worship with great confidence, knowing that you are an essential part of the family of God, and that we are so excited when we see you online. Most of all, remember that God is the one who judges men and women’s hearts, so rest in him and no one else.
I’ll see you Sunday…either in person or online…and I can’t wait.