Online worship isn’t so bad, is it?
Online worship has become our way to experience church today. Okay, online worship is the only way to experience church today, and church is something so many of us truly, dearly miss.
But hold on. Ask yourself, honestly, is online worship really so bad?
I am sure most or nearly all of us want to go back to worship where we gather in person, to gather in the community and share such good love for Christ and each other, but as God is our God of perfect control with perfect timing, we should think about what our forever Creating Creator is telling us through this season of online worship.
First, we are reaching those who have left the church with deep conviction that they’ll never darken the door of a church. With online worship, it’s just a click away. We don’t have doors anymore. Praising God in the fellowship of others can be done literally anywhere, as long as there’s an internet connection.
Second, what now is this fellowship of others? Since our God is in and out of time and place, doesn’t it stand to reason that by way of the Holy Spirit, we are being connected by God in ways we have never considered before?
Let me pose the question differently. Suppose Person A and Person B are watching the same worship service, only they are doing so at different times on different days. If Person A hears a prayer at 11 AM Sunday morning and Person B hears the same prayer the following day at 4 PM, is the prayer somehow different 29 hours later? Is the later prayer somehow less, or is God still God hearing us out of our time in ways we cannot comprehend?
Let me try this again. We are in the season of Easter. Jesus died for our sins. Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago, yet He died for all of humanity, which includes us (and our sins) today.
I’m saying this. We can experience Jesus Christ’s power and presence in the most phenomenal ways by way of the internet.
Family members who live in different parts of the commonwealth or the country (or the world) can now experience the same worship either at the same time, or when it works for the family. Imagine, for example, the Apostle Paul hearing these words: Distance no longer divides. Time is no longer a barrier.
You can share your church worship service with those you love (even or especially with the non-churchy types). Imagine the conversations if you have not yet done this. Imagine the connections. We are divided by social distancing, yes, but, then again, thanks to God being behind our online worship services (and amen to this!), we are no longer divided. The universality of Jesus Christ and His message has never been more readily available and now easily shared.
And THAT’S exciting.
This past weekend, I saw a joke from a friend on Facebook in the form of a comic strip by an artist known only as Otto. The devil and God are almost shoulder to shoulder over the planet earth. The devil says, “With COVID-19, I closed your churches.”
God replies, “On the contrary, I just opened one in every home.”
Be a part of the church in every home by sharing your online worship experiences with those you know and love. We are now just beginning to equip and embrace what Jesus means when he says, “Go and make disciples of all nations… (Matthew 28:19ff).”
At best, those original listeners may well have traveled 200 miles in their lifetime. Now it’s a little different: never in the history of humankind has the gospel message had the protentional to reach the world as it has today. Good news about the Good News has never sounded better.
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on April 22nd, 2020.