We sat with our small group last night. We ate. We talked about the Bible, culture, philosophy and life.
Belonging. There’s no substitute. There’s no viable virtual version. There’s nothing sweeter than lasagna, salad and laughing.
For well over a year, the church in general has struggled to connect to one another. Our sense of community, both in the common ways and in the christian sense has been strained.
Community has been strained because “being together” cannot be contained in a media format. Our senses have been deprived of presence. And the ministry of presence is one that engages all the sensory receptors God created us with.
We’ve tried to tell ourselves it can work. And don’t get me wrong, I’m so thankful for online church. It has kept partial connection when all belonging could have been lost. However, there’s a threshold of reality that no communication medium will ever be able to cross.
Now you are the body of Christ. You’re not “like a body” or “like the body” of Christ. You ARE part of the body. (1 Cor 12) And without the church and more specifically the people that you share dinner, dreams and disappointments with, you’re a dismembered part of the body.
Dismembered limbs are dead and soon rot and stink. And I wonder if the reason our zeal for loving one another has dipped to a new low because we’re disconnected from real people in real community. We find our fierce tribes online and reach in with dead, diseased fingers trying to “fix everyone else”.
Paul felt the pain of missing people. He experienced separation in a different ways than we currently are in, but his longing for the body was apparent.
1 Thessalonians 2: 17-20
But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
What is our crown, our hope, our joy? It’s each other!
I don’t know the time for you…but I do know that we weren’t created to sit behind screens and scroll our lives away. But if parts of you have grown numb…you might consider getting back together with your ‘body’.