||Pastoral Passage|| The answers to this question find many parallels when it is asked regarding church gatherings
||Pastoral Passage|| Church life in New Zealand – like that of tourism and hospitality – has been disrupted and constricted these past two years, and it seems now that the times of lockdowns and gathering restrictions have come to an end. The Lord’s response to the despondent Jews at their return from exile also speaks today to church communities who are rebuilding.
The parable of the Unforgiving Servant spells out in severe terms the necessity of forgiving those who wrong us “from the heart”. An issue that arises here is the very real difficulty people can have in bringing themselves to forgive.
When we sing together as a fellowship, we join the reality hinted at by the coming of the wise men to Jesus. We who are not ethnic sons and daughters of Israel have joined the ‘wise men’ in their wisdom when we come to Christ and raise our voices together to him. One day we will join that multitude of Revelation 7. Today we sing as a small sample of that.
||Pastoral Passage|| The sweetness of salvation must be more than a fond memory. It must be the fuel of the Christian life that propels us forward in the present and all the way to the end.
How often do Christians sing of and to God as Judge? Readers will find this theme in Scripture, yet contemporary worship music neglects to make use of it.
“Who is church for?” It is a question I have heard discussed and debated numerous times. I have myself. I have noticed that opposing answers are frequently affirmed without clarifying what the other answer is attempting to preserve.
This Sunday will be the first time our church has gathered together since March 15. That’s eleven Sundays ago. The time has come when we may reopen the doors of our churches and sit again on each other’s couches, and return to face-to-face fellowship.
New Zealand appears to have dodged a bullet and gotten off lightly in this pandemic, yet many Christians are berating the government because we cannot gather as churches under Lockdown Level 2. But there is a high cost which I doubt we are counting.
||Short Article|| Live-streamed video conferencing is not too far from the ‘face to face’ of 2 John 12, but it cannot make up the full experience of gathered fellowship. The time will come when we may reopen the doors of our churches and sit again on each other’s couches.