In the late 90’s Christian TV programmes started broadcasting and made available in the UK. I remember one member of my church who was hooked on these programmes so much so that it was all he watched on television. His attendance at church was sporadic, he didn’t need it because he was being ‘fed’ by the Christian channels. I am not being critical of the Christian programmes as I am fully aware of those who have for many years been housebound who have relied so much on them. They are a blessing to so many.
But I do remember preaching and saying that Christian TV can only help you in a certain way. It cannot replace the fellowship of the Church, of being together with others with the benefits of such.
I say all this because the one task the Church has had to face during this pandemic is connectivity. It will continue to be so even as next year (we pray!) we come out of the pandemic and the Church continues its digital presence.
But why is connectivity so important? Is it because we get lonely? Is it because there is nothing quite like gathered worship? Is it because we have empty buildings? Those things and more are genuine reasons.
Look what the Apostle says, “I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2 v 1-3)
Paul is working hard but he is in prison so he is not going anywhere. It must be that he is struggling in prayer for the Colossians and the Laodiceans. He must be struggling with processing his thoughts and preparing Tychicus and Onesimus (4:7-9) as they get ready to represent him.
But he is keen for them to connect together. Why?
If you want guidance for your life.
If you want to gain understanding of a situation.
If you want to know Christ who knows everything there is to know about anything!
Then be united in love with other believers. Be knitted together is what it means. Don’t be absent from Church. Be in it. Be known and know. Don’t go it alone. The digital presence in your life of a Christian programme from your Church is not the same as being present yourself. Whether this be a gathered service or a small group of believers journeying together or both. Of course, the point Paul is making is not just to turn up and be with others but far more than that. You can be the most faithful member and be the most complaining negative member the Church has ever had, perhaps you should be a digital member! But Paul says if you want to know Christ then be united in love.
The Church needs to continue to find its connectivity with one another in love in order to find and truly know Christ.