A lot has happened in the world since I last posted – COVID-19 being the obvious front-runner that has affected all of us.
Here in NZ we came into full lock-down on 25 March, continuing until mid May. We are still at Level 2, with limited public meetings and travel. I have carried on shopping for myself, was very relieved that up here we are away from the main centers, and have been intrigued and thankful for how God has brought a whole new life to the Church out of what the enemy intended for disaster.
Having been online since 1996, and ‘attended church’ online (one way or another) since 2008, I have long felt it was high time churches got away from holding meetings closed up in their precious buildings, and realized the very real opportunities afforded by the outdoors and the Internet.
Well Hallelujah, that is happening at last.
True, some churches videoed their services and put them up on the net, but it was just a token and certainly not the whole story. The Body of Christ was still very inwards-focused. Now at last overseas congregation members are being recognized alongside the ‘on-campus’ church, more outreach is being offered, and a new sense of worldwide fellowship is arising.
This was always meant to be – look how the disciples spread the faith across the then known world, without Church buildings or technology – purely by the power of that initial Holy Spirit igniting!
“…the sanctuary had to be emptied before this change could happen…”
Pastors are no longer speaking just to those in the sanctuary (and let’s face it, the sanctuary had to be emptied before this change could happen). As of this Pentecost weekend, some churches are planning outdoor ‘on campus’ services, streamed worldwide. Innovation – it can only get better.
Pentecost 2020 may go down as the most unusual Pentecost since 30 AD, with the whole of Jerusalem set alight by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. We are in a similar lock-down to the disciples of old, following the epic events in Jerusalem at Passover, 50 days prior.
What will happen this Pentecost? Most certainly some churches intend to meet (while observing protocol). There are online events coming up also. Will Pentecost 2020 prove to be another memorable occasion?
Most assuredly. Mighty changes have already taken place, and we can expect more yet. The Holy Spirit is still working, and while US churchgoers may have noticed only their loss of cozy fellowship, to those watching from the outside the changes so far have been salutary and long overdue.
Though God did not inflict Covid-19 upon the world, He will use it to bring about a whole new way of operation for the Church (see Paul, Romans 8:28). I predict it will be a breath of fresh air.
So, Church – do not bemoan change, just grab this opportunity and run with it! Remember: “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
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Blessings this Pentecost!