“Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another”. Romans 12:10
These past few months have been a strange time, and for many people, a lonely time. Thankfully the church I belong to went online almost as soon as lockdown started, and in addition to our twice weekly ‘services,’ we have Zoom group meetings, and even a daily half hour live-streamed ‘chat’, straight from our pastor’s office. All these things have helped us as a church family to stay connected.
Churches are starting to meet again, albeit in a strange and unfamiliar way, with two meters between us, wearing masks, and according to government guidelines; not singing out loud because it spreads germs. Most have welcomed this move, with a mix of relief and wise caution. But there are some who have become fearfully reluctant to move move forward; struck by a kind of inertia.
I have to be honest and say that last Sunday, our congregation’s first Sunday ‘back,’ I was momentarily struck by that fear, and almost didn’t go. I’ve already had the virus, so it wasn’t fear of contracting Covid that got to me, it was just an overwhelming sense of how strange it all felt. That was, until the Lord started to speak to me about “total surrender,” from Romans 12:1.
He reminded me that when I’m living surrendered to Him, I can face anything. (See Part 1for details)
In real life, the cogs of relationships are oiled with plenty of grace, lashings of love, and an attitude of mutual surrender.
Surrendered to one another
The thing is, although “online church” has been a wonderful help, it was only meant to be a temporary measure. The church isn’t meant to be “virtual” and there has to come a time when we start to have real live fellowship with each other again, with all the joys, pain, laid down pride, and ultimately, growth, that relationships bring.
Church is filled with real, flesh and blood people. As has often been said by many writers and preachers, ‘we don’t go to church, we are the church.’ Church is about relationship. And an important part of those relationships is surrender. Sometimes this means surrender of our pride. Sometimes it’s about surrendering the past to God, where we have been hurt.
When we ‘live surrendered’ in our relationships, they become stronger and grow. Where there has been disharmony and breakdown, mutual surrender brings reconciliation and healing. When we follow Jesus’ lead and surrender our will to His, He is honoured and relationships thrive.
“But this is not your calling. You will lead by a completely different model. The greatest one among you will live as the one who is called to serve others, because the greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one with the heart of a servant. For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone, and to give his life in exchange for the salvation of many.” Matthew20:26-28
Though these times may seem uncertain, our God is never uncertain! We are still His Church, He is still at the head, leading the way. I believe He calls us right now to take our eyes off our own shortsighted agendas and, empowered by His Spirit, say yes to His plan, whatever that may entail.
All scripture references in this post are taken from the TPT, and as in all my blog posts, are linked to BibleGateway.com