I’m beginning to suspect that a lot of us Protestants have a pretty low view of corporate worship (as something that’s optional and nice to have, but certainly not essential to our faith). Some in our ranks (though certainly not all) seem perfectly fine with online church and are in no hurry to return to the pews.
On one level, this is perfectly reasonable, as we’re grappling with a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of our neighbors and family members, and Christian charity demands that we care about everyone’s safety. But online church isn’t a viable long-term strategy for healthy churches. It’s our least-bad option right now. So I can grit my teeth a while longer.
But on another level, it’s a little unnerving to see so many of us shrug our shoulders at losing something that previous generations saw as precious and worth dying for.
Is church just something we can watch on a screen, or is it a place where the Lord uniquely comes to His people (and us to one another)? Or is it like a TV show or a Youtube video, which we can consume and discard without further thought?
If we must stay home (assuming such orders are reasonable, based on science, temporary, and not discriminatory), shouldn’t it hurt us? At least a little? And if we’re not aching to return to church, is it any wonder that our friends and family feel the same way?