Imagine it’s Sunday morning back in the days when things were normal. You are busy getting yourself and/or your family ready to leave the house to go to church. Have you said or heard any of the following?
- “I’ll meet you at church.”
- “What time does church start?”
- “I love my church!”
The word “church” is used in several ways. Sometimes it refers to a building (remember the days when we gathered in our church building?). Do you remember when the lobbies were filled with people waiting in line for coffee, talking, laughing, and praying with each other? Remember Wednesday nights when the kids’ and students’ spaces were buzzing with the energy and exuberance of young lives? Remember when the worship center was alive with voices singing God’s praises? The longer COVID-19 keeps us outside of our building, the more distant those memories become.
We miss going to church.
Sometimes “church” refers to a worship service. Lately, some of us just grab a lawn chair and head to outdoor church. Others roll out of bed in their PJs, grab a cup of coffee, and go to www.live.sgatechurch.org to access church. Easy. Convenient. Do you remember when we showered, dressed, rounded up the kids, piled into the SUV, and drove to church for indoor worship services? (Not always so easy.)
Remember our vibrant singing, sharing Communion together, celebrating a baptism, hearing Pastor Tim’s messages? Even though it has only been four months, for many of us, it feels like forever since we have really gone to church.
Don’t Go to Church. Be the Church.
One of the greatest reminders that God has given us during this pandemic season is this: we do not just “go” to church; we are to “be” the Church — with a capital C. As Pastor Tim said in the middle of March, “The building may be closed, but the Church is not.”
When this pandemic assaulted our lives, Shepherd’s Gate immediately rose up to be the Church in our community and in our world. We checked in on older neighbors, picked up medications, and helped with yard work. We donated and delivered food to those who needed it. We helped flood victims in Midland, MI, and sent resources to Belize. We continue to give every[thing] we have to be the Church.
I love my Church!
The capital C Church is people — real people, forgiven people. Not one of us is perfect. Some have struggled with broken relationships, addictions, and all kinds of temptations. We do and say imperfect things. We are led by imperfect leaders. Shepherd’s Gate Church is an imperfect church. Still Jesus loves and forgives us, as imperfect as we are, and chooses to work through us.
Be the Church.
God has called us together to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus Himself, to do great things in His name. God has called us to love and care about all people. God calls us together to be a part of a movement that began 2,000 years ago and continues today — a movement that has changed countless hearts and lives with the love of God.
Be the Church — Jesus’ Church.