When I think about the early church and how people gathered for worship, it seems this pandemic has sent us back to the first ways of doing church: the household. The “Pause Button” has been pushed on us. We are limited in contact with the wider gathering, but that should not limit community with God and with others. We have been forced to slow down; to see what matters most. It’s possible we could come out of this closer to our Creator and closer to creation itself. We could come out of this with new passion, and clarity for our purpose as a congregation in Christ’s Holy Church.

This pandemic has forced us to innovate, to be creators ourselves. Maybe God is showing us the essentials of “church” in this pandemic.

Will we be wiser in our dealings with one another?

Will we have conversations we would never have had before?

Will we sense the Lord’s Spirit on the move shaping our attitudes and guiding our thoughts for the future?

When Judah was overrun by the Babylonian Empire resulting in the total loss of their economy, their youth and young adults carted off to slavery, their temple and most other buildings were destroyed, the people were devastated and did not see hope for a future. The prophet, Jeremiah believed otherwise. If I change “Babylon” to “coronavirus,” might we hear what those ancient people of faith heard from their prophet and leader about their future?

“The Lord says, ‘When coronavirus’ time is over, you will more clearly see my concern for you and I will keep my promise to bring you back home. I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. You will seek me, and you will find me be-cause you will seek me with all your heart.’” (Jeremiah 29)

The Rev. Barry Foster is pastor of Unity Moravian Church, Lewisville, NC. Join in our livestreamed worship on Sundays via Facebook or YouTube.