OCC and just about every other church in Ontario are meeting online only for the next few weeks.
This is not an easy decision for churches. Worship services are like our family meals. It is the centre of the dynamic of our family life, when we connect horizontally with one another and vertically with God.
When Jesus called his disciples he said,
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Self-denial is at the centre of our faith. Jesus himself denied himself.
- As the King of the Universe, he made himself a baby in a manger,
- a servant with a towel washing his disciples’ feet,
- riding into Jerusalem on a donkey
- and dying on a cross of wood for all of humankind.
- That is the self-denial and cross-carrying that Jesus tells us marks the church.
So when not just Ontario, but the world is struggling through a pandemic, hospitals are at close to capacity, long-term care staff are being pushed to their limits and neighbours fighting for their lives and dying, then it is the right and proper Jesus way to deny ourselves for the common good.
Families can survive without the family meals for a time.
Churches can survive without gathering for a time.
That we only meet on-line for our
- worship and teaching time,
- prayer gatherings,
- and other virtual connections
is not perfect, but it is a huge resource to see us through these difficult days. I keep reminding us that OCC is not closed, we are just meeting in different ways.
Let us be those on the frontlines of setting the best example in these times.
Let us be those who do what it takes to minimise the impact of this virus.
Let OCC be a shining example.
We don’t have to do anything new or different.
We just need to do what we are – cross-carrying self-deniers and the light of the world.
May God grace and imagination flood us for all the decisions we will face in the days ahead.