On April 15, 2019, six days before Easter, I remember watching Notre Dame in Paris, France burn. My mom was visiting and her and I were glued to the TV. Paris has ALWAYS had a very, very special place in my heart and life. April 10, 2020 with seven people present, Notre Dame held an online Good Friday service. (FYI I am strictly talking about the cathedral and am by NO means advocating for the Catholic church!)
Three days post Easter Sunday, I cannot help but reflect. Last year people lamented the burning of said structure and how there would be no Holy Week services. On April 10, 2020 with seven people present, Notre Dame held an online Good Friday service in hazmat suits. It does not matter how beautiful, big, small, old, new, etc. nor how much money one has or is raising for the church building, if there is no one there to worship.
Since the church is the people and not the building, when there are no people in the building, it ceases to be the church. It is the Good News authentically preached and applied that makes the church, the bride of Christ beautiful. COVID-19 does not discriminate it is affecting all of us; keeping us behind locked doors.
COVID-19 has stalled the rebuilding efforts of Notre Dame; however, our Triune God does NOT nor has He stopped, stalled or slumbered building His Body, individually and corporately. The temple is no longer a place, it is a literal physical body. Dear reader, your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, keep glorifying God with your body (1 Cor 6:19-20). While church buildings in the time of COVID-19 are closed, you dear reader, as a believer in Jesus Christ, sealed with the Holy Spirit are indeed a living representation of life in Christ to those who are hurting. While the church building may be closed, the Church Body is ALWAYS open.
A life changed by Christ is more beautiful than any gothic architecture style or rose window. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'” (Isa 52:7; Rom 10:15 NIV).
Jesus lifts up our branches that are not producing fruit and He waters, tends and nourishes them. In this time of uncertainty, doubt, frustration, cling to the One who heals and restores. Cling to our Triune God whose mercies are new each morning.
As the world is rapidly changing before our eyes, remember God is with you, in you and through you. God is still open for business and He is interested in using you! Please do not allow yourself (nor do I want to allow myself) to become a dead lifeless building.
Father God, it amazes me how much life has changed. Thank You Jesus that You are the same yesterday, today and forever! Lord God, may Your fire refine us in this time of COVID-19 to be a people who live and act more like You. May we be a Body who is in the world, not of it. Lord God, thank You that You are still in the people using business. Now more than ever Lord, Your people need to come together in prayer and worship. Lord, I am thankful for technology. I am thankful that in this time of COVID-19 that we are still able to communicate with each other even if it is not in person. With that said Lord, may we not get too comfortable with these platforms that when we are able to meet again that we would rather stay online. Lord God, thank You that You resurrect, heal and restore our physical bodies, relationships, mindsets. Thank You that You have chosen to indwell us. May we be reminded today that You, our Triune God are in us, above us, around us and want to work through us. Thank You, Jesus for the opportunity and ability to pray in Your Name because of Your sacrifice and work on the Cross. Amen and Amen.