Lord, I believe, help my unbelief
Father of a child with seizures (spoken to Jesus)
it is a curious question
what does faith look like in the time of Covid-19?
as an individual
I think it looks like the beatitudes
it looks like humble reliance on God
it looks like grief, for the illness and pain
it looks like humility, and a willingness to walk alongside others
it looks like a passion for doing what is right
it looks like radical concern for others
it looks like honesty and integrity
it look like kindness and gentleness
and it looks like doing what is right
even when the armed and angry mass
even when you are sued
even when it costs you
it looks like being the person people can talk to about their fears
the person they can go to for comfort and understanding
for help, but also honesty
not an easy task when you carry your own fears
and your own personal pain
but what does it look like for the church?
in this time as churches are suing their states in the name of religious freedom
and choosing to openly disregard the orders of governors
and the wisdom of the epidemiologists?
we have faith, they cry
and faith means we have to show how much we trust God
we have to show how much we love God
we have to show that we are not afraid
we have to prove our value, that we are “essential”
let me be clear
I think this need to gather is not an act of belief, but unbelief
I get that not gathering is painful
as a pastor not meeting infringes on my ego need to have people in the pew,
it infringes on our organizational need to "pass the plate"
and yes, we missed each other
since when is God confined to a building?
since when is the worship of God something that only happens 1 hour on Sunday morning?
since when is God's presence and action limited to our gathered, sheltered meetings?
we can worship God at any time of day, in any place.
we can pray anywhere.
the fact is, “church” is not just a meeting in a building
it is people both gathered (yes) and scattered.
it is what those people do in their homes
and how they treat one another
and how they serve the community around them
and it strikes me that the need to gather on Sunday morning
in order to feel essential
in order to “be the church”
thus marks not the presence of faith
but the absence
it says we do not trust God enough
we do not believe in the presence of the Spirit in the lives of our people enough
we do not believe in our community of faith enough
to believe it can survive being “scattered”
I believe the church can survive being scattered
it has always survived being scattered
my scattered little church is not only surviving, it is thriving
we worship online.
we give via the mail.
we drop food off at the church for the food bank.
we call each other
we shop for each other
we may not be in church but we can be the church quite effectively,
without meeting in person
all it takes is mustard seed faith
so we will choose not to meet (not yet)
we will choose to be scattered in love, for love
until gathering is once again
an act of love