The Never Closing Church And . . . Other Thoughts
We Never Closed – Much has been said and written about churches and other houses of worship these past weeks. The word “essential” has taken on new life during this time of COVID, as it defines for many businesses and service providers whether or not they remain opened or closed. As the Pastor of FSPC I join together in harmony with many others who sing out that no matter what is said, written, and decided, “The Church never closed!” I know I have been as active and busy as ever in planning, service, and care. The church will never close, even if we are limited in when and how we gather. Online worship is not a replacement for in-person and gathered worship. Worship is made for community. Yet what is happening online right now is very special. We are able to connect with God and others at home during a time when we are keeping one another safe by being at a distance.
Showing Love at a Distance – Right now, our choice to not meet together in one place for worship is a shared act of love for one another. The time is coming when we can and will gather together for worship and group activities. Right now it is our task to imagine how we can express our faith best in a new landscape.
Re-imagining gathered worship - As we take steps forward, gathered worship will have a different energy and feel than it has in the past. Worship should be adaptable and harmonious with the context and environment and landscape we are re-entering—not the one we left. We have the ability to adapt to how, when, and where we gather together as a Church community. Some elements of worship will change and new elements will be added.
Gospel-Centered Re-entry – As we take steps towards re-entry and community gatherings, we will approach it in a way that echoes the message of the gospel. Jesus our shepherd is the one who tells of a gospel love that is so extreme that it leaves a flock of 99 sheep behind to find and safely secure the one. Our church does not have share-holders, but members. A church does not serve customers, but brothers and sisters in Christ. All of the plans we have and make now and, in the future, will center on these truths.
In Christ’s Love, Pastor Nick