It would be hard to find anyone who is not tired of the pandemic. We all miss so many people, places, and routines that are usually part of our lives. We know that the pandemic is not over and that there is a real health danger out there. If we are also part of a faith community, then we miss worship, our friends, annual activities, and all the rest.
No one knows how long this disruption to our lives will last. I heard another pastor today describe these times as “murky waters to navigate.” But, as Christians, we do know that whatever happens with the pandemic, the Church of Jesus Christ is not closed.
How often have you heard an adult tell a child that the building is not the church? We share a building – on which repairs are beginning – but the building is not the church. We are. To paraphrase the Scriptures, ‘in good times and bad’ the Church is always there.
So, what exactly is the Church? A wise theologian once said that the Church is “the community of faith in Jesus Christ living in the power of the Holy Spirit.” We are part of that faith community that began with the twelve disciples whom Jesus called to follow him. Remember that they did not have a building. The first Christians did not have bulletins, hymnals, officers, a budget – you name it – but they were the Church.
The Church is not closed. The followers of Jesus are still praying, still singing, still serving, still caring, still witnessing to our Lord.
It may be a while before we can gather in the church buildings as we want to do. But, my friends in Christ, don’t let anybody tell you that the Church is closed.
Rev. Dr. Gary S. Eller
President, Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation