Thursday, April 2, 2020

Gathered AND Scattered

I love this image.

I love it because the image of the two rails can be used to illustrate the power of the AND. It is not always either this OR that. It can often be this AND that.

What this reveals is that there are often tensions that we must manage in life. Tension sounds bad because sometimes it is. But tension can also be a good thing. Without tension, for example, a guitar string will not vibrate a note. We manage that tension when we tune that string.

Today I am thinking a lot about the local church.

When I say "church", I am not referring to the cultural definition of the place where people gather. Instead, I am referring to the biblical definition of the Church as in the people of God i.e. those who trust and follow Jesus Christ.

This tension we manage between being the Church gathered and being the Church scattered is an acknowledgment that we are to be in this world as fellow humans but not "of" this world as in surrendered to it. As God's people, we surrender ultimately to him alone.

So as we learn how to "do church" in this transition to the new normal, we can no longer gather in an auditorium, cathedral or traditional church building. We now must meet virtually either by watching a live service from an empty room or by gathering virtually in a Zoom room.

I often say to our people in our church at the end of a worship service that we didn't come to church but that we are the church and that as we leave let's go be the church where we live, work/learn and play.

Someone pointed out to me that what is cool about this is that we are now gathering where we are scattered. (Thanks, Chris Karpus) In a sense, we are doing both at the same time. We are gathering virtually from where we are scattered (which is literally where most of us live, work and play now).

This is a unique experience. One I hope we fully embrace.

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