"Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24–25)
These words from the book of Hebrews are precious to God’s children. They emphasize the importance and the purpose of gathering together in fellowship and worship. Here at New Community Church, we love one another and rejoice and prosper from our times together.
Enter COVID-19 and government-imposed restrictions on our gatherings...
Today, for a time, we find ourselves unable to gather together as we typically do. It hurts. We feel a loss. We miss one another. As the Coronavirus pulls our mind to reflect on “the Day drawing near,” we have lost our chief opportunity to “meet together.”
Given the serious risks and the legitimate exercise of governmental authority, the elders have decided to continue gathering together for worship but in a virtual way for a temporary time. This is an approach available to the church through modern communication technology. It is important to recognize, though, that this is not God’s ideal nor is it beneficial in the long term for God’s people. There are spiritual dangers. Jay Kim wrote on The Gospel Coalition website a vital caution:
"As we temporarily direct our congregations to these online spaces, it is of utmost importance that we clarify this digital reality as a temporary compromise rather than an ongoing convenience. Our clarity along these lines, or lack thereof, will be formative one way or the other. Make no mistake, sitting in the comfort and safety of our homes to watch a sermon on our television or computer will be convenient. And convenience has a way of quickly undoing the work of long-held disciplines. If we believe gathering as the church in real time and space fundamentally matters (and it does), then our temporary online reality must be viewed as a circumstantial compromise, until we can get back to the necessity of gathering in the flesh... When I FaceTime my wife and kids on trips away, I am grateful for the pseudo connection. But what I want most is to get home, to hug and hold my loved ones in my actual arms. So it must be in this time of ecclesiological compromise."
Please remember, this is a temporary compromise. We ought not get used to this and forsake the physical gathering of ourselves when this is possible again.