Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Help my unbelief

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

and anxiety


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”

by gathering


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





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