April 2020: Life as Live-Stream Church
Well, we are live-stream church now. Who knew?
Just a few months ago, only the hippest churches on the cutting edge had incorporated technology as intimately as every church is attempting to do now. Just a few months ago no one knew about the coronavirus and life was closer to some definition of normal.
If you would have asked me if I would be using my time to fine tune audio systems, self-educate on the latest tech for live streaming, or fielding IT related questions over the phone I would have said, no way. But, here we are. By God's hand of provision, I have done all these things before, as an AV tech in collage. Interestingly enough, these things seem to be exactly the thing I need to be doing in order to ensure the that the Word of God continues to be spread broadly, and not COVID-19.
Circumstances change quickly, thanks be to God that he does not.
In the last chapter of the book of Hebrews, the author (we have no idea who that might be) exhorts the church to rise to the occasion of their calling as Christians. He wants them to know how the church conducts itself when under pressure. I know its a little bit long of a reading to include in an article, but please read over it carefully, devotionally. He writes,
1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
The authors exhorts the church to be the Church. To live as if Christ died and rose for them. Is this something that falls away, or buckles under pressure? Absolutely not! Even though these words were written approx. 2,000 years ago, we are invited by God's Spirit to read them as they are written to us.
Wrapped up in these exhortations is a tremendous promise. Did you catch it? Here it is again:
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Everything around us may change. How we communicate with each other may have to adapt, but our God will never change. His grace is sufficient for us each day, and His charge is likewise: be the Church.
The Church is not a place we go or a service we attend. We are the Church. We are forgiven forgivers, the salt bearer, the light shiners, a people set apart by God for His purposes.
Some things change, but the important stuff, who God is and who you are, never changes.
A citizen of the city to come testing audio connections right now,
Pastor Jeremiah Jording