For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. – Matthew 18:20
I heard a conversation on the radio about a month ago that featured a local coffee house and roaster in the Twin Cities. They were talking about how their business has changed and what they were doing to respond to the enduring nature of the pandemic.
One of the owners made the comment: “even more than just reopening our café for customers, this pandemic is challenging us to redesign our business, to redesign with our shared health and equity in mind.”
That conversation has stuck with me over these last five months about re-entry and reopening. So many of our local businesses and non-profit organizations and long-established institutions have had to make significant pivots in order to survive.
This is true for the church too. We have made significant changes to keep our community safe and healthy. Of course, some have rightfully said that regardless of whether the church building is available, the church (as the Body of Christ) has never closed.
But what that conversation has also reminded me is that more than just trying to hang on or survive, this pandemic is calling the church to re-hopen and redesign.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we hear how Jesus’ ministry is challenging communities (both Jewish and non-Jewish) to adapt, re-hope, and redesign the world to more reflect God’s dream.
Jesus’ ministry never dwelled so much on physical structures as it centered on people, equipping the masses to be remade in God’s love again and again. We see hungry crowds fed. The broken called blessed. The injured are healed. Empty leaders are exposed. And outcasts proclaimed with great faith.
Wherever two or three are gathered. Talk about a socially distanced experience. Ministry doesn’t have to be big for it to be blessed.
Think small. With so much of our ministry dispersed right now in our own homes and neighborhoods, it seems to me that God is calling us right where we need to be.
I’m looking forward to those “twos or threes” this Fall, not just re-entering physical spaces together, but how that focus will reshape and re-hope and re-design for God’s love in the world. Whenever we get back to “normal.”
It’s going to be different (and different for everyone) but we trust that God will be making us new.
In God’s Hopening,