Theme of the Week: Why Church?
Bible Verse: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:1-39
On March 10, 2022, Statistics Canada produced a report outlining all the ways that COVID has affected Canada socially, economically, and relationally. It’s fascinating and sobering to see the effect on our national culture.
COVID has made quite an impact in the last two and half years. Lots has changed. For many, the disease and the surrounding personal and cultural shifts has changed life, perhaps irrevocably. Sides have been chosen. Where once there was friendship, now there is enmity. People are scared and frustrated. Some have been vaccinated, others hospitalized. Some have died.
COVID has also affected the church. When COVID first began spreading in Canada, many churches closed to help slow the spread. True, online attending and streaming views rose, but in-person attendance took a dramatic dive, even in those places where churches were still open. Of course, people were doing what they thought was best to help the public effort. But as the restrictions started to lift, the number of returnees did not equal the number of exiles.
We have to ask, Why?
I’m afraid that people saw COVID restrictions like a hall pass. For a long time, they didn’t have to go to church. They could be absent, and they had a perfectly acceptable reason. For some, that was the out they were looking for. They were debating dropping church from their lives and COVID gave them the perfect opportunity. For others, online services were not enjoyable so they got into the habit of filling that time with other things. And when the church doors opened again, they didn’t have the same desire or time for it.
So, is that really a big deal? Do we need to go to church? Is church necessary at all?
The writer of Hebrews makes it very clear that we need to keep meeting together. The very first reason is the encouragement we can get from being together. Church services aren’t Zoom calls. It’s not a two-way connection. It’s a performance, much like a television show. You may sing and pray along, but no one hears you outside of your home. Online services are great when they are needed, but they are no substitute for rubbing elbows and speaking a friendly greeting.
The church needs you and you need the church. You are better in Christian community and Christian community is better with you.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the community of fellow believers that you have made me a part of. Give me the strength and your grace love and be involved in my local church. Help me to recognize more and more the value of being surrounded by others who follow you.
Reflection: How do you see your local church? Do you focus on the things you don’t like or are you able to see it as a place where you and others push one another to be more like Jesus?
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