For many of us—depending on where you are—either you have been or you soon will be looking forward to meeting together as congregations for the first time in a long time.
It will be great to see real people, rather than disembodied pixels on a screen, to holler and shout greetings and talk crossways and interject, and even have several conversations happening at once—and not have to patiently wait for a gap in the conversation or address your comments to an entire Zoom-ful of people.
Ah the joy of embodied worship! What a thing! No longer worshipping whilst imagining that our brothers and sisters are similarly gathered worshipping along with us in their living room or kitchens. No longer the minister trying to imagine an unseen congregation (trusting they’ve all tuned in!) and thinking his way round their faces as he preaches to a camera.
No more of not seeing those who worship with us.
Or maybe not.
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)
We always gather with an unseen host—thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly. Each week the congregation is always bigger than we can see—the spirits of the righteous made perfect.
We always worship by faith and not by sight.
So let us take the new, freshly-honed skills of worshipping and preaching by faith gained in our online services and take them with us into every Lord’s Day service.
As we taught our children to think of their friends from church sitting in their homes worshipping, let us teach them to ‘see’ that vaster, greater multitude. As we tried to think our way around friends joining in whom we couldn’t see—let’s not stop just because we can see some of the congregation we are part of.
So whatever way you are worshipping tomorrow, in flesh, in car, online—you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly… to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus…”