We Are the Church!
Saturday, March 28, 2020 – by Ruth Frederick
As I have been reflecting on the passing of Pastor Bob Bolt’s father, I can’t help but think of my dad. We are approaching the two-year anniversary of his death. How can it be that long since I have been able to talk to him?
A conversation with my dad today might go like this:
Dad: “Aren’t we going to church on Sunday?”
Me: “No, Dad, church is closed because of the virus.”
Dad: “I don’t ever remember a time when we had no church because of a sickness. Storms, tornadoes, and maybe a blizzard, those things might have canceled a service here or there, but no church for weeks. How is that possible? What is this sickness? We can’t even see it or see anyone who has it. We can’t even see anyone.”
Me: “I know, Dad, it is a crazy time we are living in.”
The church was so important to my dad. Our lives as kids revolved around church. A church event came before any sporting event, family gathering, or work obligation. Church. We were there every Sunday, twice. It was part of our family.
Maybe some of you had that same experience growing up. Maybe it is the experience you have passed on to your children and hopefully grandchildren as well.
But suddenly that has changed. This virus is separating us from our time of fellowship, our time in the word together, our time of singing his praises, and yes, our time of sharing the Lord’s Supper together. I am thankful we were able to do that in the last week before this so drastically changed our lives.
But is that all we are as the church? A group of people who come together to fellowship, to hear God’s word, to sing, and to celebrate the sacrament.
No, the church is the bride of Christ. He loves his church, his people, and this piece of his kingdom. He loves the fellowship, the preaching of the word, the singing, the sacrament, but most importantly he loves us. We are the church, not the building, not the Sunday services, not the fellowship together. Us, his children. We are his bride.
It has been so encouraging to see the church at work. Watching Pastor Bob and Brenda packing bags of food for the neighbors was such a blessing. Seeing signs in people’s yards proclaiming God’s HOPE is an encouragement to all. Knowing neighbors are taking care of the elderly warms my heart. Hearing from students about assignments they are doing and doing above and beyond cements our faith in the future generations.
As I was thinking about writing this, a parent randomly, with God’s prodding, sent me a link to the song “Build Your Kingdom Here”. I’m not sure if she knew how much I needed to hear the words of that song or if she was preaching to me, but either way it needs to be our prayer:
“Build your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build your kingdom here
While I am thankful for the great work our church staff is doing, the rest of us need to continue to be the church as well. We are all the church. We all have a responsibility to serve our world.
The church will come through this virus and remain strong. I believe it will be stronger than when this all began. God will not be defeated. He will continue to bless his people. He will build his kingdom here in this nation.
The end of my conversation with my dad would be:
Dad: “Will we ever get back to worshipping together again?”
ME: “Yes, Dad. God will heal our diseases. Psalm 103 says “Praise the Lord… who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion… The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all… Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul.”
His Kingdom rules over all. He will build his kingdom here. We are his kingdom.
God, we praise you today that we are so loved by you. We are thankful to be a part of your church, to be able to do our part in your kingdom. We pray for our nation, heal our land, heal your people everywhere. Set us on fire, Lord, to serve you, to build your kingdom through this time of uncertainty and fear. Help us spread hope to a hurting world. Build your kingdom here, we pray in Jesus’ strong, powerful name, Amen.