It is getting closer and closer. The closer it gets, the greater the anticipation and harder it is to wait. Christmas is like that; birthdays (when you are a kid) are like that. Reopenings are like that. Every day we long a little more to be together. The closer it gets, the harder it is to wait.
So, when we have the opportunity to gather, we jump at it! And this Sunday, we can gather. We won’t sing, or hug, or even shake hands. But we will be together. I’m kinda excited!
Words Matter: Together.
No matter how introverted we may be, we all crave some form of community. For those at the far end of the introversion scale (which, by the way, is a good place to be if that is how God has made you), the community may be just one or two other trusted friends. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who want to party all night long and really, really like it when everyone talks at the same time. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. All of us need to be connected.
The psalmists found encouragement in community:
My steps had almost slipped.
When I pondered to understand this,
It was troublesome in my sight
Until I came into the sanctuary of God.
(Psa. 73:2. 16-17 NASB)
The sanctuary of God - the Temple - was a happening place. It was sensory overload. Music, prayers, offerings, incense, shared meals, laughter and celebration, lament and sorrow. It was all there. For ancient Israel, it was the centre of their social fabric.
It is no wonder, then, the psalmist also said:
I was glad because they said to me,
"We will go to the LORD's temple."
(Psa. 122:1 NET)
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
(Psa. 34:1-3 NASB)
We have learned many things during this pandemic, not the least of which is how desperately we need social connections. Playing baseball by yourself is no fun. Eating in isolation, even if you have your immediate family with you, is not as fun as enjoying a backyard BBQ with friends, neighbours, and family. Yes, you can watch a movie at home on Netflix, but the experience in a theatre is much richer. Thankfully, we have had technology to serve as a stop-gap measure. But we have missed being together.
And this Sunday, we will have the opportunity to be together. We all know “church” isn’t the building or even the events or programs we may do. It is the “us” - people who confess a shared faith in God, who have a shared passion to “seek first the Kingdom of God,” who share in the marvel of God’s grace. Building context for life, whether laughter or lament, happens best when we are in community with each other. And community needs to gather. We need each other.
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in the same place at the same time. We’ll meet outside (bring your own chair). The school will be open for access to the washrooms. But must importantly, we will be together.
In case you forgot: Sunday at 10, Cairn Christian School. See you there!