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[ How do we still meet together? ]

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25

The question I am asking is how do we live out verse 25 in the context of our whole church gatherings, i.e. our Sunday services, when we cannot physically gather together because of things like coronavirus?  It is here that technology can be vital.

Technology itself is a neutral tool.  It can be used for good and it can be used for evil, like most things in life.  As we are unable to gather as a church body physically on a Sunday morning, technology can help us.  It is a second best, there is no substitute for the physical gathering of God’s people together, but it is better than being able to do nothing and leaving people isolated, alone and with no church connection.

When we meet on a Sunday there is lots going on and lots taking place but I see the three key things happening like a 3 legged stool.  These are, in order of how the service usually runs:

  • Singing to Jesus – through songs of worship directed to Him but also encouraging each other (Col. 3:16)
  • Hearing from Jesus – when we stand up to preach, we are God’s instrument and vehicle speaking His message from Scripture. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said of preaching, “It is truth through personality.”  It is God speaking through people (Hebrews 3:15).
  • Receiving from Jesus – as we receive of His body and blood through the eating of bread and drinking from the cup as we take Communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

In, and through all these things, is prayer, grace gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation to build up the body and all sorts of other things happening (including financial giving and notices.)

This raises the question: how do we do these things if we are not together physically?  Well, we can still sing to Jesus with the help of things like Spotify, You Tube, getting some instruments out and singing.  It could be fun to think about doing the same songs, or even in a group chat through Life Groups and discipleship groups doing this together.

As a team we are committed to still preaching and making sure everyone has access to it.  This, of course, won’t be quite the same, but we can still, together, be fed the same diet of preaching week to week from God’s word.

And whereas communion is something that, among other things, shows the church family together eating the family meal, we can still eat the family meal together in response to what we have heard.  Again, this would not be the norm but, as we gather as a church through different ways and means online, we can still receive from Jesus in this way.

Things are different and they will be for a while.  But let us not give up meeting together but encourage one another remembering we are a day closer to Jesus’ return.

 

Written by Andrew Larkin

 

 

Redeemer Church Office | St Barnabas Terrace | Plymouth PL1 5NN

Tel: 01752 568400

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