After nine months of Covid lockdown, we were able to meet again as a church indoors this past Sunday (January 3, 2021). The Lord graciously allowed me to be a part of the worship for all three morning services.
My wife commented how refreshing it was to be back in the Main Sanctuary (of Calvary Chapel South Bay). Indoor services had been banned since March of 2020. There were still social distancing guidelines in place. Only people you reside with could sit together in the pews; you were not permitted to sit directly behind anyone; you had to keep your face mask on while you were indoors; fellowshipping after services was only allowed outdoors.
In Hebrews 10: 24-25, it states, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” In my humble opinion, this Covid lockdown showed how we in the Church took for granted in-person church attendance. During the first few months of the lockdown, our services were streamed, but no in-person attendance was allowed. As the weather got warmer, Los Angeles County allowed outdoor services to held in the parking lot, which was way better than no in-person attendance at all.
Sometimes my mind wanders off into supposing what would’ve been like if Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount in a virtual format. The Romans said that He could preach but the audience members had to be separated and isolated from one another at least 3 cubits. Or when He fed the five thousand. This would be my version of that event (The New Gee Convoluted Version):
When it got dark, His disciples came to Him, saying, “We’re in the middle of nowhere, and it’s getting late. Send these folks away, so that they can go into town and buy something to eat. They’ve got to be famished by now.”
But Jesus said to them, “They don’t have to go anywhere. Why don’t you give them something to eat?”
They replied, “Don’t you remember about the Romans’ edicts about social distancing and food distribution? The leprosy outbreak’s been really bad to the point that they’ve banned outdoor and indoor dining; you can only eat at home with the people you live with.”
“You’re absolutely right,” Jesus said. “Go into town, speak to the food vendors, and obtain from them 5,000 food vouchers. Put the tab on Me.” (End of Convoluted fake scripture)
There’s nothing like going to church in-person. God uses it to give us a sneak preview to show us what eternity going to be like. Revelation 21: 3 and 4 states, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Notice that God will be with them AND dwell with them, not at a distance.
If you get the opportunity to attend church in person during this Covid lockdown, cherish it, and thank the Lord for it. I will end with this scripture: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”