Psalm 122:1 shares these timeless words that speak to the grief and the hope we have right now – “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” A question we have all had since this started is “when we will be able to go back to church?” We would all admit in some ways that we were pretty casual about the worship gathering that we now miss. So I want to ask you to help me think about what it looks like to live out Psalm 122 practically and spiritually.
Here are my thoughts on the practical issues around gathering as a church again.
- What is the safest way we can do this for our congregation AND our neighbors?
- A great “consequence” of the inability to gather is that we all have a shared experience of worship. What is God teaching us through this?
- Last fall we had started additional worship gatherings using technology at The Culpeper and The Branch. We were averaging over 50 people weekly at those experiences. Moving forward there will be more people that are unable to gather with us because of concerns about the virus. How do we expand what we started so we include them in a meaningful way?
The spiritual aspects of Psalm 122 are more challenging.
- Too often our culture has not associated joy as a characteristic of believers. I think that is a fair critique. Too many times our gatherings are not associated with gladness. What needs to change in us?
- For far too long we have made the mistake the that the house of the Lord has an address (318 S. West Street, Culpeper, Virginia). Our ministry and mission and our conflicts and challenges have centered around a physical address. What has been exciting to see in this pandemic journey is all the “houses of the Lord” that have sprung up in our living rooms, through technology to connect us to people we would have never seen at 318 S. West Street. What is God telling us about our mission by moving us out of our building?
- There is a unity that happens in the house of the Lord in Psalm 122 and there is peace for the city through that gathering. What do each of us need to do to bring unity to believers and peace to our community?
May God continue to do a work in us so that we can say, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”