This morning I saw a meme on social media. The video showed a famous actor – now deceased – running up and down the aisles on a talk show, high-fiving, cheering, and hugging people. The caption said “Every preacher the first Sunday back from Corona”.
Indeed, it will be a happy time, that first Sunday. I may just be tempted to run a celebratory lap around the sanctuary, slapping a few hands and giving a few hugs. I will be genuinely happy to see the church family. I am looking forward to high-fiving the children in our church, and shaking hands with members and regular attenders.
My family and I have only lived in our small town now for about 10 months. We have just started getting to know the people here. We have not even had a chance to make that first go-round on the church calendar yet, where we learn the big events of the year, and the unique things that makes every small town and every small town church unique. But this year we are looking at the distinct possibility that our Easter Sunday service will be cancelled. I’m scrambling to come up with an alternative plan, but whatever happens, we will be practicing “social distancing”.
So…what’s the big deal? We can all watch our favorite preacher on the internet, right? Isn’t that enough?
No. It really isn’t.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Why? What’s the big deal about actually physically meeting together and seeing each other in person?
I think it’s because God created us as social creatures. He made us to crave physical contact with others, and to desire to see each other. Communications experts will tell you that 93% of our communication is non-verbal. That means that only 7% of what we say is done…by saying it with our mouths. When we walk into church on Sunday morning, people can tell if we’re happy, or sad, or hurting, or angry, or whatever just by LOOKING at us. We can know to rejoice, or grieve, or console each other at a glance. We can tell that someone needs help, or we can tell the person that wants to share a victory just by looking at them.
When I had a choice to go to Bible College to get a Master’s Degree, or an online seminary to get a Master’s of Divinity, I chose the Bible College. It actually cost double what an online Master of Divinity would have cost. Why did I choose it, though? I did because I believe that being able to look a professor in the eye and asking him a question, or being able to sit next to a classmate and interact was better than asking a question in an online format and waiting for a response.
Do you want to have a physical connection and experience God in a deeper way than watching something on a screen? Go to church when this is all over. Come visit us at First Baptist Church. Give me a high-five. Give me a hug. Shake hands with those around you.
Rejoice that God gave us the ability to meet and stir one another up to good works.
Pastor Keith Brich