One of the biggest questions of the church world during the pandemic has been: Does church still matter? When people can’t gather to study or serve or worship in the usual ways, will it still work? When people have gotten used to worship on their schedule and on their comfy sofas and in their footy pajamas, will they come back? Even as I have held out hope that the answer to all of the questions above is a resounding, “Yes!” I must admit I’ve also been holding my breath a bit. But it seems church does still matter; it does still work, and people – you and quite a lot of visitors – have come back!
I imagine part of the reason is that church, especially worship, gives us a place to pause and be in awe of something far bigger than ourselves. All of us came to church with the bad news from the headlines on our minds and some experienced personal bad news during the week – a big fight, a difficult diagnosis, a stressful situation. Others came celebrating good news – a birth, an anniversary, or a wedding. Still others had an ordinary week, and having church, being church reminds us that God is in the midst of the bad, the good, and the ordinary.
I imagine another reason church still matters is because it forms relationships and faith that last a lifetime. This is a place where we get to be our true selves, confessing our mess ups and trusting that we are loved no matter what. This is a place where Jesus hosts a meal of bread and wine, nourishing us for work in our broken world. This is a place where the Spirit knows no bounds, eluding social distancing, masks, and online meetings. Church still matters if you are part of it here or at home, frequently or occasionally. Church still matters as long as we are Forming Faith from Roots to Fruit in Christ’s name.