Hope Chapel Blog
Learning and living the Way of Jesus!
Daily Devotional January 14th
“But forget all that [which happened in the past]—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
I am so glad for God’s reminders during this time of the pandemic that we do not meet for church, but rather we—Christ-followers around our globe—are the Church. Buildings should not define ‘church’ or provide parameters within which the work of God is accomplished. Our buildings are not what connects us…they are simply convenient places to meet together. As the body of Christ, we have a far greater ‘connection’ than wood, brick or mortar—we have the Holy Spirit connecting us together, with our Saviour and to our Father!
That truth aside, I am greatly concerned for those who do not possess or simply have not pursued means of connecting with other believers. Whether in-person, online, in socially distanced groups or even over the phone, it is important for the Church to get together. Even though the ‘where,’ ‘when’ and ‘how’ do not matter, the ‘who’ and ‘why’ does.
The ‘who’ are Christ-followers, those with a shared faith in our Lord Jesus. Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “Don’t neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” Some believers insist that this verse is a directive to meet in-person, but I don’t think so. The early church met in the Temple court and synagogues, but also in people’s homes—wherever was available, could become a meeting place. The pandemic with its restrictions on meeting together, has provided a ready excuse for those who were looking for one not to have to ‘go to church.’ As pointed out earlier, we don’t ‘go’ to church…my dear Christian friend, the Church is no further away than your mirror! Unlike the early church, our day and age has provided us with a vast number of possible places to meet—we are not limited to simply meeting physically; we also possess a number of connecting points—phone, mail, online. We have no reason not to meet together as instructed by the writer of Hebrews.
For me, the more important aspect of believers meeting together is the ‘why.’ Scripture tells us that we need to connect with others of like-faith for encouragement, to ‘spur’ one another on to love and good deeds, for accountability, for teaching and admonishment, for prayer and for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25; Colossians 3:16-17; James 5:16). If we are counting on a Sunday morning to fulfill this obligation, we are sadly missing the point. The early church met ‘daily’ (Acts 2:46). Meeting together wasn’t something they scheduled into their week; it was a way of life. We should be connecting with others who follow Christ as Lord on a regular, even daily basis! Yes, out of the need to try and control a virus wreaking global havoc, the Church has been instructed to close its buildings…for now. That doesn’t mean we are being told to stop being the Church!
In our small congregation, I have noted a very interesting thing that God is doing. If the virus were to all of a sudden disappear and we were permitted to meet in our building as we had pre-covid, we would still need to meet online. Our small group of believers has become an international group, many of whom could not be a part of our meeting together if we reverted to relying on our building. We have people from Collingwood, Stayner, Meaford, Barrie, Innisfil, Hamilton, Kitchener, British Columbia, Arizona and Barbados; even some of those located in Ontario would be hard-pressed to get to our building in Collingwood. The number of communities now represented by God’s global Church in our small congregation is capable of extending a far greater influence than was possible for us to do even a year ago. God is up to something new and I for one am excited to see what He will do next in and through His Church…which is us!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!