In a dangerous and hazardous environment human beings need to have a place to go for safety, often called an outpost. An outpost is typically a small camp or settlement. Here is but one example:
Oymyakon is a remote village in the Sakha Republic, Siberia. Oymyakon is the coldest town on Earth with average low temperatures of -49.2°C (-57°F) and record lows of -68°C (-90°F). here is a photo of one of their buildings.
It has been reported that it is so cold, that some birds can freeze solid mid-flight, plummeting to the ground like a rock. Spit will also freeze solid before it hits the ground at -50°C and a glass of water thrown into the air will freeze before it hits the ground. Oymyakon has a population of between 500-800 people that are willing to bear the extreme conditions as a way of life.
This is an outpost, and these people could not survive without it. The point I am making is that the church, the Body of Christ has an outpost in this fallen, sinful world and it is the Church. Now most of us westerners think immediately of a building, but the truth is even without a building we are all still the Church, the Body of Christ. If for some reason either by natural disaster, fire or persecution we could not meet in a building we could still assemble somewhere.
In our current moment in time, within the context of the upheaval going on at many levels people have started attending church less and some will never return. God is at work within these circumstances as he always is. By definition, the church is an assembly or gathering of saints (ecclesia). Church then is not just an activity to be performed, assembly as the Body of Christ is an identity to be lived. Our gathering together is done as those who are united in Christ. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” The reality is we worship because we are the Church. God has called us to assemble through his Holy Word: 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Our current worldwide reset will change how we assemble just as it has changed many other things and thank the Lord life will in general never go back to what people considered normal as the rate of social acceleration had become overwhelming and all of us would never admit to it. On the hamster wheel we were running, running, running after fame and fortune. Life is not about us, our fame, our social media status, our wealth. Those are temptations of the powers and principalities that have taken Gods good things and made them idols.
The local church is an outpost of a glorious kingdom unknown and often misunderstood by the world,
If we are a light in the world, if we are salt it is through obedience to our King and in service to one another that we can create a beautiful and accepting culture of corporate worship in our churches. We assemble, not as consumers, but as a people submitting to Scripture and glorifying God any way we can. This gathering reminds us of our humble position and of the truths we profess and through which we are encouraged, convicted, enlightened and sharpened.
We need an environment in which we experience the assembly of the gathered church, not just performance on a stage. Elevating entertainment over personal contact fails to involve the gathered assembly, the Church in the work and witness of corporate worship.
As Christians we have an Outpost wherever that may be.
So then do not be dismayed about what the Pandemic or anything else has done to your church. You and everyone else of faith are The Church and will continue to meet, to assemble somehow, somewhere to the Glory of God!