As the months pass since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been concern that the Church may not weather this storm. I’ve heard it from colleagues and faithful lay leaders, leading to many resources to help Her through this season. While changes may need to be made in local bodies in the hard times are upon us, the Church is never in trouble. From the moment that Jesus proclaimed Her into being (cited above), He adjoined to it the reminder that nothing would prevail against the Church. The Church has and will endure.
Individual congregations however, may or may not make it to the end. In fact, in Revelation we see such evidence in the letters to the seven churches in chapters 1-3. Their lamp stand, or witness would be removed if they failed to be faithful to Jesus. And the same is true today. The question is not whether the Church will persevere, but whether we will be faithful in doing so in our local body at Saint Barnabas.
What does that entail? It means continuing to gather faithfully, digitally or in person, despite what circumstances face us. It means never faltering in leaving time to grow in the likeness of Jesus no matter what changes come to our schedules. It means continuing to support the work of the Kingdom of God through our talents and treasure. It means reflecting the love of Jesus to the world and calling the world back to Him. It means the Church continues to do what She has always done. Yes, it requires a bit of creativity now, but it always has. In times of persecution, famine, and plight, the Church has always adapted as She has leaned into Jesus.
We are called to do the same. Press into Jesus, press through the ‘noise’ of the culture and distractions that pull us away from Him. We are called to disciple others as we continue to grow ourselves. If history has taught us anything, when we do these things, the Church doesn’t merely survive, but thrives in such seasons. After all, in times of despair the world looks for answers and hope. We, as Christians, know and believe that can only be found in Jesus. It affords us an opportunity to reach into the world at a time when it is more open than ever before.
The Church is never in trouble and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The Kingdom of God is always advancing, but will we at Saint Barnabas endure to the end? Our lives, choices, and priorities answer that question daily. I pray we take inventory and join in what God is doing so that our lamp stand may remain lit as a beacon of hope for generations to come.