It’s been 11 Sundays since we’ve been together for worship, or anything else for that matter. God has been with us and helped us during these strange times. He is faithful to his people and his promises.

Looking ahead, I believe we are about to enter into the most difficult stage of our pandemic experience so far: reopening so that we can have some kind of in-person services and smaller group meetings. There are endless questions to consider:

  • Are masks required?
  • Is it safe to sing?
  • Are kids able to participate?
  • Should we meet inside or outside?

I believe this phase will be a major test for many churches, and the test will be the test of love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).

One resource people have been reading recently is the article, “Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You.” I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read and consider it. Whether you agree with each of the author’s examples and conclusions or not, I hope we can find encouragement to stick together through the call to humble, patient love. Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite.

On the challenge we face: The latest complex challenge is perhaps the trickiest yet: how to prudently resume in-person gatherings.

On the opportunity this presents us: At a time when self-idolatry is being exposed in ugly ways, the church has an opportunity to model love that places the interests of others above the self.

On the need for humility: Have you noticed how remarkably confident so many of us are in our views right now? Unfounded certainty—on the part of laypeople, leaders, modelers, and “experts” alike—is a contagion at least as viral as COVID-19 itself. We could all use a bit more humility, and the church should lead the way.

On the need for patience: Patience is one of the rarest virtues in today’s insta-everything world. And yet patience has rarely been more needed, as many of us are antsy to break free of “stay home” isolation and get back to normalcy as soon as possible.

You can read the rest of it here.

As reopening gets underway, please be praying for Spirit-empowered unity in churches like ours. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if Christians separated or churches split over masks or social distancing? Instead, may we seize this opportunity to demonstrate that church can be a place where listening and loving triumphs over judging and self-interest, for the glory of God.

Mark Mullery

P.S. Got comments or questions about this post, or ideas for another one? Email me at midweekmusings@rgcfairfax.org.