Reaching The Community
By David Jenkins, Pastoral Care Pastor
I understand how this social distancing and stay-at-home can make you anxious. None of us have been here before. I’m so ready to be among my church family again.
This morning as I was talking with God, He reminded me when His children were in exile in Babylon. For some time nothing was normal. No Temple to worship or make sacrifice. Their familiar routines were gone. Their daily relationships altered. Their lives were completely turned upside down and yet God commanded them to live well for Him among the people of Babylon (Jer. 23:4-7,10-14).
So… they adapted. They continued to represent God in Babylon even to the point that eventually two kings released them to go back and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and the temple (538-515 BC).
Some Jewish and Christian historians believe it’s very possible during the exile the synagogue began. There was no temple. It had been burned and destroyed in Jerusalem. So God’s people met in smaller gatherings to continue worshiping, to study God’s word together, rather than at the temple.
No, we’re not in exile, but our freedom is somewhat restricted. Our routines and relationships are certainly different. But our amazing God, whose Spirit lives in each of us, reminds us of our purpose - to glorify Him and to love each other and our neighbors (Matt. 22:37-40; John 15:17; 1 John 4:10-12)!
In these circumstances I know we miss the gathering of the body of Christ in our usual way. But we all know the church is not a building. The “Temple” today is the body of Christ, made up of people who have publicly followed Jesus as Savior & King (1 Pe. 2:4-5). They are people, as Paul has written, who have been sealed in relationship with Christ by His Holy Spirit (Eph.1:5-14).
You are the church and I applaud you for being the church in your neighborhoods, meeting weekly online, and keeping in touch with everyone. There in your home, on your street, or at work, you are a reflection of Christ. For now we may be restricted in how we gather as the body of Christ, but like God’s people in Babylon, there’s nothing to restrict us from living our lives well among the people around us.
So, let’s not give up in doing good. Walk next door, say hello and pray with your neighbors. Pick up the phone. Call the person who’s been on your mind, that member of your extended family, connection group or connect 4 family. Send a text or a card to that person you think may be struggling because “Somebody” put that person on your mind. And do this continually!
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”
Hebrews 6:10 NIV
“And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when he appears, we may be confident and unashamed before Him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28 NIV
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,”
2 Timothy 3:14 NIV