Over the past few months we have been hearing many people ask when things are going to go back to normal. For schools, hospitals, even many churches, hoping that things would return to the way things were is a nice thought, but one that I’m not sure will happen. I thought about this in relation to Jesus talking about His death with the disciples, and their desire for Him to be with them in future. His answer was far different than the one they expected. His work would continue, yet, God would not only be with them, but in them. The Holy Spirit would enable God’s people to spread throughout the world, sharing the Gospel with the nations, and see Christ build His church and His Kingdom.
The reality for us all is that COVID-19 does not stop this. Of course, things are different. Church may look different, yet, the ‘new normal’ isn’t that far removed from how Christ’s Kingdom has advanced throughout history. We read about small groups in closed countries not able to gather as regularly as they would like. We learn of churches who cannot sing for fear of being discovered. We are aware of many restrictions placed on our brothers and sisters all around the globe that are far from ideal. Yet still the Gospel goes forth, the Kingdom of God marches on, and the church of Christ, just as He promised, continues to be built.
This is a message that we are to hold fast to, and one that we as a church have been considering. Our latest sermons have been considering growth in the life of a disciple. If we are in Christ, and branches of the vine (John 15), then His life flows through us. We are still able to worship Him, serve Him, and be witnesses to Him, albeit in a slightly different way. We are able to point to the peace, joy and sustaining grace that has given us great hope and security through these troubling times. We can still sing, pray and read His word. This will look differently than it has before, but our God is still sovereign, and this pandemic is of no surprise to Him. If we are open, prepared and courageous, this new ‘normal’ may create opportunities for Gospel growth that we have never considered before.
We are never called to pray for ‘normal’ as Christians, but for God’s will to be done, and God to be glorified all over the world. This is a challenge to us all as we seek to walk with Him, and worship Him in all our lives, that others may too come to know transformation by His grace.
By Jonny and Julie Pollock