“He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
(Revelation chapter 22, verse 21)
The Covid-19 crisis has forced us, as the global body of Christ, to reassess the way we do church, and the reason behind our gathering. Petty squabbles regarding church membership, engagement, stylistic concerns etc., have been forced aside. Building expansions have halted, and the busyness and business of church has been paused.
Jesus has returned to the centre of our focus.
The truth is that the nations of the earth do not need the church. The nations of the earth desperately need Jesus; and so do we.
The Lord Jesus in His wisdom, and unsearchable knowledge, has curated the perfect circumstances to prepare the church to stand in an hour of crisis. He has pushed away the crutches and props we have been leaning on, to compel us to lean on our Beloved.
Yeshua, is succeeding in alluring us in the wilderness and causing us to return to the simplicity of the gospel, and the foundation of the ecclesia (global body of Christ). Church has never been a building. It was never meant to subscribe to the western way of gathering that reduces church to an event and occasional giving. That model (hopefully) will not survive this, or other crises to come.
The early church was forged in crisis, tremendous persecution, lack and need. It had no building fund, new converts class, or expansion plan, yet it grew tremendously and rapidly! Its disciples were won in a context of suffering- no rose-tinted preaching or false hope given regarding prosperity or the rewards of this life- and these disciples stood.
What did church look like then? What, if anything, did they do differently? Acts chapter 2, verse 42,tells us that the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. Beloved, that is the ancient path to which we need to return.
In our eagerness to figure out how to connect remotely, secure our current membership, and find a new way of doing things; may I submit that what we need is not a new way, but the old way. The early believers foundthat as they devoted themselves to Jesus, earnestly longing for the day of His appearing, God added to their numbers DAILY! (Acts chapter 2, verse 47)
The spirit of longing
What your nation needs most is Jesus. All will not be well, until that Jewish man splits the sky and establishes His throne in Jerusalem, to rule the nations in righteousness. Above all else, we must yearn for the day of His appearing.
The early church believed that Yeshua Messiah was coming back, and that impacted the way they lived. They wanted Him to come back; admitting that they were aliens and strangers in the earth, they longed for a city not made by human hands-whose builder and maker is God. They endured suffering, gave extravagantly, spoke boldly, lived holy, giving their lives to hastening the Day, when the Desire of the Nations would return and make all wrong things right.The identifying secret phrase of the early church, whispered often in greetings was “Maranatha”- “The Lord is coming”.
There is no security in this age. There is no lasting peace to be found in this life. The hope of the gospel, the blessed hope, is the resurrection- the return of Jesus. It is to this end we live, work, endure and overcome!
Where is your hope, beloved?
Oh, Beautiful God, before whom the angels cry “Holy!”, awaken our hearts to love! Awaken our hearts to the voice of the Bridegroom! Indeed, You, are more beautiful than ten thousand other loves! Wean our hearts from the vanity of this age, the futility of this life.Arouse in us the song of the Bride, the cry of eternity- the cry of Maranatha.
We will be found watching, waiting, yearning, praying. We will be found faithful. Bring on the seals and the trumpets, the plagues and persecutions, purify out hearts and longings. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Francesca Tavares (West Indies) is a daughter, sister, friend, avid reader, attorney-at-law, and porridge connoisseur. She enjoys Jesus and fulfilling His purposes for her life on Earth.