How to Think About "Reopening" Church
Over the past week there have been many debates, thoughts, and social media posts regarding the surprisingly contentious issue of "reopening" church. Our county, last night, just released some new guidelines as well.
I wanted to share a bit more about our thought process regarding this big question.
First, in everything we do, we want, to the best of our ability, to be rooted and grounded in love. This reflects the great commandment: when we love sacrificially we are most clearly reflecting the heart of God. Throughout the pandemic it has been very clear that the most loving response, for our church and our neighbors, has been to limit exposure, follow social distancing guidelines, and protect life over convenience.
Second, we know from Scripture that love is, among other qualities, patient and kind. I, personally, cannot wait for all of us to be back together, but I keep coming back to this reminder: love is patient. We can wait until it is safe and wise to gather. In the same way, kindness wins out over preference or expedience.
Finally, we remember that while Gatherings may be canceled or postponed, THE Church is never canceled. Yes, Church means "gathering" or "assembly" in Greek, and yes, being together in the same place and at the same time is theologically significant (as well as emotionally and spiritually significant), but gatherings and assemblies have to look different right now, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. We can become a bit too comfortable with the idea of church as a "service," and lose the sense of church as a people, a family, that moves on mission together in all sorts of spaces (small and large, public and private, sacred and secular).
The mission is never canceled, and we are seeing many people experience the Good News of Jesus even in the midst of a pandemic!
Having said all of that: stay tuned. Much will change in the coming weeks with updates and new protocols. We are working on an alternative Church in the Park, a summer rhythm for groups, VBS for the kids, and a school of theology.
Thank you for being on this adventure together!
Grace and Peace,