What Does it Mean to Gather?: The Pastor’s Message for the February 2022 Messenger

A few Sundays ago, everything was cold. When I drove to church, the thermometer gauge on my car read zero, and the engine whined because it didn’t want to be working. When I walked into the sanctuary, it was a toasty sixty degrees, and I quickly got setup for worship. David Scance soon arrived and got ready to use music to share the gospel. Together, we readied ourselves to hang out with Jesus and you. When the clock hit 9:00 am, David and I were the only ones in the building. No one was in the pews, yet I noticed that roughly a dozen households were watching online.

Prior to our livestream days, worshipping in the sanctuary on cold mornings was
pretty lonely. Yet, because you made the commitment to gather using your
smartphone, TV, computer, or even by calling in – we didn’t feel alone. Instead,
we felt like the body of Christ gathering in a new way so that we can all keep
following the Way. Prior to the pandemic, I often said the easiest way to grow the church is to be at church. We connect best to a faith community when we see the life happening in that place. For a first time visitor, seeing people of all ages gathered with each other means a great deal. It isn’t always easy to share our faith, but we can show up for our faith. Yet this pandemic has shown how the idea of “gathering” has changed. We have taken care of each other while worshipping with each other in a variety of ways. I lament I didn’t do enough before this point to better engage those who have been worshipping at home for years. And I have had to grow in my own
understanding of what it means to show up for your faith. Yet, I’m hopeful we are finally putting into practice at our church a clearer expression of how expansive and inclusive is the body of Christ.

Over the next few months, we’re going to learn how to share the vitality of CLC even though our gathering together is more decentralized than it was in the past. I’m not exactly sure how to do that, but I know that we, together, can make the body of Christ visible in new ways. When Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them,” we invested our energy in the “where.” It’s now time to focus on the “gathered” because no matter how we gather, it is Jesus himself who is uniting us as one.

Blessed to be the church with you,
Pastor Marc