I want to go to church. Pews weren’t meant to sit empty. Every state is different in their approach to gatherings. Many places are slowly allowing people back into the church buildings. However, my little church met in an elementary school. Since schools are closed, church is closed. I need to meet in person with my church family.
I know the church is not a building. Believers join together to form the body of Christ, it’s not a certain location. Praise God that we still meet online where I hear solid Bible teaching. We even stay around afterwards to pray for each other. It’s not the same. I didn’t realize before what a blessing it was to lay hands on people in prayer.
Recently, we had a prayer gathering where we met together in person while maintaining social distancing. The group was very small and the gym was quite large with a whole wall opened for air flow. Being in the same room was other believers was electrifying. The Holy Spirit in each of us communed with the Spirit in the others and my heart soared. That gym held the splendors of heaven that night.
My heart longs to assemble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Hebrews 10:25 says, “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” (NKJV). I realized the reason it feels so wrong to not get together, is because it is wrong. God’s Word admonishes us to gather together to encourage each other in the faith, especially as we see the end times approach. Satan hates the power of God that moves through His people when they assemble.
May I never take for granted the ability to go to church. Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord” (NKJV). Many churches around the world are persecuted and face imprisonment if they go to church. They meet in house churches, sometimes traveling from far reaches to be in the presence of God together. They put mattresses in front of their doors and mouth the words to praise songs to muffle the sound from the neighbors. Much of the persecuted church has experienced this reality for years. I just wasn’t expecting it in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I pray for wisdom for churches and pastors all around this country and the whole world to navigate reopening. Sadly, many churches have gotten a bad reputation for opening and then people getting infected. I am praying we can find ways to be safe and be together. My desire is to spread the gospel and not COVID-19. My parent’s church had drive-in services. I’ve heard of other churches meeting in parks outside. There are many ways we can join together to encourage each other in Christ.
May God uphold His people and strengthen their souls as they eagerly await the day when they warm that shiny pew again. Until then, may we find ways to meet in small groups for prayer, exhortation, and studying of the Word to strengthen the bond of Christ among believers so we don’t fall away from the truth.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.