Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:27)
The last couple of years have seen people at times separated from one another in the most unexpected and unwelcome ways. International travel bans removed any possibility of families living in different countries catching up face to face. The closure of hospitality venues stopped friends seeing each other in ways that were very much a part of everyday life. We weren’t allowed into each other’s houses, and for those in residential and nursing homes it was particularly painful, at best only greeting visitors through a window. And perhaps hardest of all, families weren’t able to be together when someone so dear to them was dying. Perhaps the only positive of all this has been the reminder of just how important relationships are, and the need to cherish and nurture those we have.
It’s also been a time of separation for our church family. We’ve had times when it’s been impossible to meet face to face, and many of our activities had to stop. And despite the blessing of having people with the technical skills to make online Services happen, and the wonderful efforts of our Staff Team and many others to keep us in touch through regular updates and online events, our links with each other have inevitably suffered.
The removal of Covid restrictions brings a welcome opportunity to be together again much more. And a key part of this will be taking the time to renew and strengthen our friendships. Life in general, but our Christian journey in particular, isn’t a solo expedition. Perhaps Covid has encouraged us to think it is, or has to be. But we desperately need each other! Our faith flourishes most of all when we share our adventure with others who will encourage, support, guide, teach and, maybe at times, challenge us. We thrive most of all in community, and our faith blossoms most of all in Christian community.
But as we navigate the next chapter of the Covid story, we need to do so with sensitivity and patience. Some in our church family will rejoice greatly at the removal of Covid restrictions, while others will be very nervous about it. And there will be all shades in between. And some, because of their vulnerability, will have genuine concerns about their health. So, in the weeks and months ahead we have a really practical opportunity to be Jesus to one another as we rebuild our life together.
In our need to distance ourselves from one another during Covid, even when in church, sadly we haven’t been sharing the Peace with one another in Communion Services through the usual handshake or hug. But the words leading into sharing it are a timely reminder:
We are the body of Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.
Thank you, Lord, for my church family, and for all they give to me and I can bring to them. Please strengthen our love for one another and our commitment to each other as we share life together. Amen
Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash