The Church has left the building!
A sign posted on the door of my office for many years: The Church has left the Building! It may have had a slightly different meaning then than it does now. Then, I wanted to remind myself that the church was more than just brick and mortar but a need for the people of God to go out into the byways and highways to express the love of Christ to the world around us.
But the world around us has changed these past few weeks. The church can no longer stay within the brick mortar, it has been mandated to close its doors.
The church today is forced to not only leave the building but has been directed to not come back for the immediate future until we get a handle on this pandemic. And told to stay at a distance from everyone… social distance ourselves. Ok church, now what do we do?
There is an old Christian chorus: that says they will know us by our love.
If we are in self isolation how do we show our Christian love, how do we remain a community of believers.
A few ways:
- Pray! Pray for our families, our friends, our health care workers. Those on the front line of our medical services.
- Call on our neighbours and friends and see how they are doing. By phone, text or email. Keep connected, Be encouragers!
- If someone needs groceries or other necessities help them out. Check on their needs. Several members of our church have volunteered to drop off groceries, etc.
- During Lent we usually give up something…. maybe this is the Lent that we add something….. not take away. The hour we normally spend in church on Sunday morning, find a quiet spot at home and pray, and read your Bible. Think of the people that sat around you in church and begin to bring them to the Lord in prayer. Take some solitary time to be with God. Just you and Jesus. The sermon you hear may be the wee small voice of God. Write down what he says to you. Maybe there is a word for us when we return to the brick and mortar and once again worship together.
Jesus went into the wilderness to hear from God. Maybe this is our wilderness. A time to remove ourselves from the busyness of life and listen to what God is saying to his people. The Psalmist says Be still and know that I am God. If we only listen to CNN and CBC we can become afraid, scared of what is to come. However Our forced isolation may give us time to listen, to be still for a moment. And the word we may hear is the reminder that God is in Control! He can relieve us of the fear that seems to permeate our world to a point we need to buy rolls and rolls of toilet paper. It may be that we hear of Gods love for each one of us. He says he will never leave or forsake us. It maybe that we hear words of comfort for ourselves, our friends, our families. It may be that we hear words of comfort for our churches of St Andrews and St Matthews.
- I had a friend that said about his troubles… you know it could be worse…. and sure enough it got worse!
If the corona virus has taught us anything, it is that things could be worse. And yet through the desert, the wilderness, the floods and plagues God has always helped us stand fast, and shows us He will always be with us!
Paul says to the Corinthian Church:
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.
If there is anything that I can do as your pastor, please let me know.
Rev. Merv Lanctot
Priest in Charge of St Andrews on the Red and St Matthews.