Bottom Line…Worship, especially Christian worship, is a lifestyle and not a scheduled event in a fixed place.
There is nothing wrong with worship as a congregation in a church building. Problems arise when the building becomes the only place where God is at work. The pandemic forced us to look at options. We gathered on Facebook live, streamed Bible studies, and did our best to say connected. In other words, we innovated to worship together. The Hebrews innovated, the first brutalized Christians innovated, and over the centuries our organizations would be challenged and changed.
This season of Corona/COVID has forced this return to ancient ways. The followers of the Christ-Way worshiped around campfires, dinner tables and in crowded markets. Christians would hide together through three centuries of persecution and then finally become legit in 337 AD. It would be 500 more years before a parish/church structure would be organized. This was modeled after the Jewish synagogues organized in the Sinai desert by Moses. Until the 800’s, worship was sent out into the world rather than calling the world into a building. From here would come fractures, arguments, atrocities, renaissance, reform and cycles of revival. And then…COVID
So, Here we are being challenged by a virus and, for the most part, have risen to the occasion-we have worshiped together in different ways. I pray we will not stop but see this season as permission to worship together in more than one way. Christians! Insist on it. Lead new ways to share the Gospel in ways that celebrate Christian Salvation and not simply promote our “Brand”. GO for it!
The second gift of COVID is to give permission to quiet, contemplative and personal ways of worship. Permission to turn off the music and listen. How can you and I reclaim a quiet time. There are many apps, book and helps. This blog has a section called “My mornings with Thomas Merton”. This will follow a nine month season of reading and journaling his book, “Contemplative Prayer” devotionally. As a Christian disciple, or just a “spiritual” person seeking answers, reclaim the silence where God can take hold of our hearts.
Here are some resources for your Reflection: The Centering Prayer App from Contemplative Outreach, books, “Centering Prayer” by Basil Pennington, Centering Prayer in Daily Life and Ministry by Thomas Keating, The War Room Bible Study by Stephen Kendrick, and “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You are Going: Leading in a Liminal Season” by Susan Beaumont