2 Samuel 7:1-8:18
2 Samuel 9:1-11:27
Last time I did this challenge I felt a lot of pressure to blog while also feeling like the Word inspired me to pray. I always pray through each blog post but blogging also sometimes got in the way of praying, as silly as it sounds. I intend to pray more than I blog this time around, I'm sure it will in turn enhance each blog post. Yesterday I read the assigned reading but instead of blogging I felt prompted to only pray. Today I want to include yesterday's reading in the post though.
It's been over 10 weeks now that we have not gathered together to worship as a church. Churches are doing many different things to compensate for this loss. My church formed small groups and we meet together every Sunday for prayer, Bible study, and worship over Zoom. I've been really blessed by this and I think our whole group would testify the same. We have been able to fellowship, serve each other, step into different types of leadership roles, and talk through the stress and concerns we have during the present crisis. I've heard from other Zoom small groups how blessed they have felt by it too. I think we all agree that while the loss has been real and great during this time of not meeting together in person, we have gained something we were missing before and we do not want to let go. We have gained new and deeper relationships through this process and we've all gained a greater confidence in our role in the church. These are Biblical things the church was designed for and we feel the blessing of it very much.
I don't know when my church will start to meet together again in person; I look forward to that day as much as anyone. But I have been really encouraged to see something play out that I've always believed but never got to see manifest: the church is the church with or without a building. The building, of course, is such a blessing but God's plan for His church is by no means hindered without it. We have seen through this process that the church can still be the church without the church building and even without meeting in person.
I thought of all this when I read the first part of 2 Samuel chapter 7. David wants to build a house for the ark of God but God says, "Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, 'Why have you not built me a house of cedar?'"
I think we think we need a building. I think we think God needs a building. Or at least, I think we have thought that. But God is still God whether we are in a cathedral, a house church, or even a Zoom call. We are God's temple, His Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). As long as we are alive (eternally in Christ) the church will continue to thrive even if every house of worship is torn down. As long as Christ is alive (eternally) we, the church, will live and thrive forever.
"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5
Life looks very different right now, but Jesus loves us. Jesus loves us, and that's the foundation on which this church stands.