“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
We cannot worship together, right now. We cannot quilt together. We cannot have Youth Group the way we have in the past. Meetings have been cancelled, or scheduled online. The doors of 216 S. Aspen St. are basically shuttered to the outside world. These are strange and tenuous times. The Coronavirus, COVID 19, is wreaking havoc in all aspects of our daily lives.
I’ve heard some people say that they aren’t having church, or they can’t go to church, but the truth is, we are the church. It is true that we cannot go to the building and worship corporately, have our spirits lifted in prayer, in song, in word, in communion. But we can certainly worship as the church together, apart. Think of it in this way, every Sunday, when things were less chaotic, sisters and brothers gathered for worship all across the world. Even though we weren’t under the same roof, we were joined together in faith, in the unity of the Spirit. Our songs and prayers were joined together and raised to God. Our hearts were connected by God’s grace. I knew that my friends at Bethphage, Daniel’s, Trinity, and Holy Cross in our Lincolnton community were all in worship together with us, yet in different places. The same is true today, yet in our own context here at Emmanuel.
On Sunday morning, know that Emmanuel’s community of faith, our church family is gathering together apart, from our living rooms, dens, home offices, kitchens, and probably even bedrooms. While we don’t have the opportunity to see one another in person, that doesn’t mean we are not there. Rest assured that we are all in this together, and together, by the grace of God, we will see this through. As long as we are able, your congregational leadership will be providing worship opportunities through Facebook, YouTube, and other means as they become available to us. We are working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep you connected to the life of your congregation. Our thoughts and our prayers are for you our sisters and brothers in Christ. “You are the Body of Christ and individually members of it.” Wherever you are, there is the church. That being said, however, reminds us that during this time of social distancing and isolation, it is easy to feel detached from the communities that bring us meaning. We can become lonely and anxious. So, check in with one another, pick up your phone and call a friend. Be as present as you can, be the church for a neighbor. And remember that while we don’t have all the answers, we do have a God who walks with us in the dark valley, and will never let us go. You are so loved dear friends, and as we journey forth together apart, be filled with the grace of God and share the good news that we have in Christ Jesus our Lord.