Friday Devotion with Ray Leonard
Thursday Devotion with Pastor Ellen
Every time I open up my Facebook, I see pictures of empty sanctuaries. Maybe it’s because I’m friends with way too many preachers, but it seems to be flooding my news feed. I see pictures of pastors working alone in the church, and behind-the-scenes photos from Sunday morning live stream. I know many of these posts are meant to be encouraging, as if to say with determination ‘we will be together in this place again.’ They represent a longing to return to a familiar space.
I hear that. I share your longing. But at same time, I can’t help but think how powerfully these empty sanctuaries communicate the goal of the church. To go and be the body of Christ in the world. Isn’t this what we strive towards?
When Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples” I’m not entirely sure he meant “Go to church on Sunday morning” Don’t get me wrong, worshiping as the body of Christ is vitally important. But Jesus’ commandment reminds us that we also have to disperse. We worship together, grow together, and then we go. We go back out into our lives to live as Christians. We are Christians on zoom meetings and Christians in the grocery store. It’s how the love of Christ spreads in our world.
A few days ago my husband said to me, “I’m thinking of putting out a bounty for dandelions collected from our yard.” He hates weeds. He has a particular dislike for dandelions because of the way they disperse. They have no regard for flower beds or fences, the seeds scatter effortlessly, and they take root all over the neighborhood. The dandelion is created to disperse.
I know we have a longing to return. But what if we also allowed ourselves to feel a longing to disperse? In this season of separation, what if we were to plant seeds of Christ’s love in all the places where we have been scattered? For me, that means that an empty sanctuary isn’t a sign of sorrow. It’s an image of hope.