It has been almost 2 months since our church resumed gathering together after the period of social isolation. Initially, the government ordered churches to refrain from meeting. We are overjoyed to be back together once again. It is clear that the Lord has been working in the hearts of individuals during this time, as well as the body as a whole.
Considering the individuals in the church, the unsearchable wisdom of God was again manifested to us. God used the lockdown to reveal to our church the things we would not otherwise see. Namely, as we were separated from one another for several weeks, the intentions and convictions of our hearts came to the surface. I can say that in general I was very encouraged to see that almost all of the church members proved to be spiritually mature, responsible, loving, and supportive during such a difficult time. However, at some point as we continued to meet online, it became evident that not every person in our church had the right order of christian priorities or a healthy understanding of church life. The lockdown helped me to see, by God’s grace, that some members of our church had an imbalanced understanding of my role as the pastor as well as their roles as church members. Praise God that He does not allow any of His own to continue in sin. I thank the Lord that He graciously showed me the areas of my personal life and ministry in which I most needed to improve and grow. I have seen the Lord’s work among the members of the church in revealing to a greater degree what a blessing and privilege it is to be a part of a sound local assembly.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
I am also glad to see a significant change in the hearts of the church members regarding the priority of being devoted to the life of the church, and thus to one another. The Lord indeed used the time of isolation to show us our weaknesses and bring our church to the point where we saw exactly the things we had to change, leading us to greater unity. Because of these changes, I see a more joyful participation by the members in the life of the church. I have noticed that our prayer meetings extended in length as we pray even more fervently than before. Each individual seems to have also grown in his or her understanding of the joy it is to be devoted to the body of believers by serving and caring for one another in love. It is great to see the believers visit one another more, spend more time together, and also encourage and build up each other in the Lord. Our church is currently planning a short retreat together in order to continue cultivating these relationships and to get to know each other more. Hopefully we will be able to do that at the beginning of next month.
At the end I would like to say that one of the many things the Lord has taught me and our church in Cracow by the pandemic isolation period is the fact that church meetings of any kind, whether Sunday church service or a prayer meeting, are always a great gift and privilege given to us by God. Therefore we should not take it for granted that it will always be given to us to meet and gather as we want. This realization leads our church to more thankfulness and appreciation of each gathering of the church.