It’s now sixteen weeks since we stopped meeting together in person as Carlingford Uniting Church – sometimes it seems even longer – we miss being in church together, we miss singing together, we miss having fellowship together over morning tea. And we miss many other aspects of our lives too – the family gatherings, even workplace meetings. The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly reminded us that we live in communities. People are important. Our relationships are important. We need each other and, from our experience of the lockdown and isolation, we have seen how vital relationships are. We miss the personal contact of worship, prayer, and fellowship.
Meeting together in other ways (our services on our website, Mainly Music and church council on Zoom, and telephone calls to one another) have been helpful, but it’s not the same. Those of us who have been able to meet with each other at Lake Parramatta have really enjoyed that social contact.
We were made for community. It was not simply by speaking the good news, but also by being a community that the early church made such a significant impact on the world. As we read the book of Acts we see how the early followers of Jesus met together and supported each other, spiritually and physically.
The early church lived out Jesus’ ‘new commandment’ to love one another. They showed the Gospel in action as they cared for widows, orphans, the poor and sick. The church has continued to do that throughout the ages – sure, there have been ups and downs along the way – but time and time again, the followers of Jesus have shown their love – not only for each other, but for all the people of the world. Wherever they have found themselves, not only have they shared the good news of Jesus, they have also looked after the sick, the poor and the downtrodden.
Of course, the challenge for us today is to find ways to do that, even though we are isolated. But we are blessed to live in a time when technology (not just computers! But the telephone, and even Australia Post!), allow us to stay in contact – and even reach out to others.
We long to be back together, praising God and singing and having fellowship, but even as we wait for that to happen, our challenge is to continue to support each other, to care for our neighbours, and to share the good news of Jesus.