"I'll meet you at the church."
"See you at church."
"Yeah, I go that church"
So often when we refer to "the church" we mean a particular building or set of buildings. For most of us "church" refers to 900 Main Street. Or it refers specifically to building in which we worship, the sanctuary.
But during this time of physical isolation -- of sheltering-in-place -- we are reminded that "church" is more about people than a place. Being "church" used to look like
And now, more like . . .
But this really shouldn't surprise us. Remember that Christ sometimes met people in a synagogue. But more often, it was wherever he happened to be, on a hillside, on a lake, at the village well, or on a road to somewhere,
And in the Book of Acts and the letters of the New Testament, "church" referred to what was being done, not where it was done. It was about what was going on among the community of the faithful, not where that was happening.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (Matt. 18:20)
This is said by Jesus in the context of describing forgiveness and how members of the church should deal with each other's sin. In the Biblical narrative, being church is all about forgiveness, love, support, faith, and sharing the Gospel, not about any particular structure or place.
So as we go forward as the United Church of Colchester, let's remember that being "church" is vastly more important than being "at" church. And then, when we are blessed again by being physically back together in Christian fellowship, we can focus on being church in new and creative ways!
Peace be with you!