As we see the possibility of this year-long pandemic coming to a close, or at least the possibility of life returning to some kind of new abnormal, I think I’m beginning to see some things differently. I have taken too much for granted. I have undervalued big things and little things.
Toilet paper is one thing. I now see myself as a toilet paper snob and realize that I don’t want to have to settle for the cheap stuff. And yes, I’m staying ahead on our household supply – just in case.
Freedoms that we have come to expect in this country are fragile now. So much seems out of our control, and it leaves me breathless thinking, “How did we get here so quickly?”
But more important to me is the necessity of staying connected to the Body of Christ and functioning in my purpose in that context. The frequent phone calls, texts, and occasional visits have not been enough. On-line church and Zoom are not enough. I’ve missed group participation, and I’ve missed being a part of group leadership.
At first, it was a relief. Quarantine conditions reinforced my natural tendency to isolate. It was a good excuse to stay home. I didn’t have to prepare a lesson or program. I didn’t have to keep up with anything.
I’ve spent a lot of time on Twitter. Thank goodness Facebook suspended my account before I finished registering, or I would have never come up for air. To be honest, I do consider this blog and Twitter to be ministries. I hope they encourage believers and raise some questions as well. I’ve met some great people online, but it’s not the same as face-to-face fellowship.
I used a term that I took for granted last week when I commented on J.D. Wininger’s blog. I said, “I hope we carry lessons learned throughout this pandemic back into our Body-life.” It seemed to get his attention, but it speaks loudly to me too.
We function as a part of the Body of Christ. Paul describes this in interesting analogies in 1st Corinthians chapter 12. It’s one Body – one living entity. So we are part of the Body-life.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 1Corinthians 12:12
No matter if we have many denominations. No matter if some denominations, like mine, are splitting apart. (And that’s a good thing.) No matter if we don’t always see eye-to-eye. (Ba-dum-dum) The one true church is a spiritual being of eternal significance. Labels will come off. We live life together.
We play our role by using the Spirit-given gifts within the Body. So there’s the rub. Sometimes this invisible Body has to come together physically – in real-time and space. We all have gifts that we can’t use unless we are present with each other. So unless we meet, we are not fully functioning in our purpose.
Yes, yes. I know we can have one-on-one time. We can be with family and friends who are believers and enjoy fellowship, but we are missing the power and ministry of the Presence of Jesus in ways I took for granted. Our presence is necessary to share in this with each other.
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
I knew that other people are important to me because I’ve missed them. And their presence in my life enriches me, but I took the necessity of my presence to them for granted. This may not be earth-shattering to anybody else. Maybe you already knew this. I might have had an inkling in the recesses of my brain, but the reality of it is hitting me hard now. I think I tried to believe I was insignificant, and my presence wasn’t necessary. Or maybe I didn’t want to believe I was significant. This isn’t a self-esteem issue, it’s a responsibility issue. If I don’t function in my purpose, it’s a slap in God’s face, Who is the Giver of all good gifts.
The Body needs me, just like I need the Body. I’ve got to show up. Otherwise, our Body-life is not fully functioning.
I have been part of church-life all my life. More programs and promotions can be exhausting. I should know, since I’ve served on the staff of seven different churches. Church-life and Body-life aren’t necessarily the same thing. Just like the institutional church is not the Bride of Christ.
for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; –Acts 17:28
I’m ready for the fresh breath of the Spirit to give new rejuvenation to the Body. This is what the world needs from us – Spirit-empowered witnesses who speak life. The world needs prayer warriors and servant-leaders who bring the power of the risen Lord to meet their needs.
I’m ready to get out of the house and go for it.