It's been several months since the government declared a national lockdown of businesses and churches because of the global pandemic. Questions about whether the risk was determined correctly, how well our government handled it, if there was some kind of conspiracy, and all other questions do not require answers from the Christian. We obey the law, insofar as it doesn't ask us to go against our consciences and the word of God, and we pray for the people and the civic leaders.
I had to develop a strategy for the lockdown. How do we mirror the weekly practices of the church when we're separated from each other?
It was obvious what to do with preaching; I'd record sermons and put them online. We use SermonAudio to host them. They can be found at https://www.sermonaudio.com/solo/newroadchurch
There were still problems, though. Several members didn't have internet access. At one point, I was even recording onto audio cassette! Those issues were solved eventually though, and we now have a pretty smooth system.
Naturally, there are aspects to church life that are currently impossible, such as prayer meetings and breaking bread. I did wonder about online prayer and observing the Lord's table at a fixed time each week so as to create a united act of worship, but I decided not to do this. If the current situation was to last a lot longer, we'd have to look at it.
The talk now is about how we start the slow process of getting back to normal. For the world, it means taking up their sinful habits again. For the congregation of God, it means renewed fellowship. We're looking forward to face-to-face interaction and fellowship meals, to the breaking of bread and singing, to the prayer meetings and round-table Bible discussions. It's my prayer that all will have a true longing for a return to that activity and not become accustomed to private worship in its stead.