It is time. It is time to begin to leave behind the blessed benefits of Youtube Church or Streaming services. Oh they were a real help during Covid-19. To be able to gather alone together was an amazing gift.
It is now time to move on. Covid is going to be always around us but we seem to have found the vaccines to dull its impact. That means that it is time to do Church in its proper and best way.
I recently caught, by chance on social media, a Bruce Springsteen interview from 1984 with David Hepworth. When I was 23 this was the most exciting thing I had ever seen on TV. I recorded it on my VHS and watched it again and again. It was nostalgic to see a young Springsteen talking about his work
At one point Hepworth asks him why he had yet to release a live record. Springsteen’s career was a decade old and his concerts where legendary. A live record made sense. Live 1975-85 would finally be released in late 1986 but Springsteen wasn’t keen during the Hepworth interview.
Springsteen’s reason was that the live show was too special. He almost suggested that if you didn’t get to a gig then you shouldn’t hear one outside the venue. The experience is the most vital thing. Being there is essential.
It didn’t take me long to apply that to post Covid-19 Church life. Gathering is vital. That verse in Hebrews that many quoted, I believe erroneously during Covid, now has its day!
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward 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.
I did not believe that during the time when Covid-19 was a killer that this verse was as important as “love thy neighbour.” Yet now as we learn to live with Covid it is time to gather once again.
There is something about being together, sharing a faith misunderstood outside of the Church, that is encouraging.
There is something about singing together that emits spiritual energy.
There is something about listening to the text of Scripture and context of the world around us that is spiritually stimulating.
There is something about praying a congregational prayer that resonates with our hurts and hopes.
There is something about looking in one another's eyes as we pray that benediction over one another that genuinely blesses.
I am not saying that it is going to be easy. Habits need shifted again. Just doing things that we haven’t done for a few years takes courage. Yet, I don’t believe that God is happy as we sit in our pyjamas, with our donuts and coffee.
We are no longer all alone together. People are gathering together and we are missing it out. Youtube and Streaming is still helpful for many but where you can - gather. Springsteen sensed something about that live experience. The people of God certainly should!
See you on Sunday!