Well, self-isolation at home is hardly comparable to the Apostle Paul enchained in a Roman prison. But after 14 days, I know I am going to be very keen to see other people and have some real face to face communication and connection with the ones that I love – my family, our staff, and indeed, the whole church. It seems in this season, with restrictions tightening, real community is likely to get harder before it gets easier.
As Paul penned his epistle to the Philippians, he reminisced about the church community and shared these words,
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now…”
Clearly, he was missing them greatly and in verse 8, he makes that even clearer:
“For God is my witness, how greatly I LONG FOR YOU ALL, with the affection of Jesus Christ.”
I hope you too will miss our physical gathering and worshipping together. I’m so pleased with the impact and success of our first online gatherings and after weekend one, I’m in awe of our incredible team who have pulled off a Herculean effort to link all our global churches to their respective congregations. Still yet, there’s something about being in the room that we will all miss. Thank God the Holy Spirit can visit you powerfully in your own home as we worship together online, but there’s no doubt I will miss you. In fact, I already do.
The Apostle Paul “longed” for the church community, but he knew the power of the written word and used letters to continue to pastor and shepherd the churches. These days, we are blessed to have technology that has opened new doors of possibility, enabling us to continue to connect as a church, worship together, give, receive the word, pray for the sick, and expect salvations. But in this season, I also intend to write to you a little more. During difficult and sometimes isolated days, I hope we will all be open to receiving increased communication through emails, blogs and social media. I hope you also “long” for the day when we are all together again… what a day of rejoicing that will be. I have a smile on my face as I think of it.
But in the meantime, within the same opening greeting to the Philippians, Paul shared this encouragement to the church, and I am praying this over you as well:
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Global Senior Pastor