In this pandemic moment when we are postponing our gathering, how can we honor the Lord’s Day? This is the best day of the week, the day when the Church has gathered since the ascension of our Lord. This is the day when we are called to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly, to speak psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to one another, to share prayers, and prophecies, and encouragement. This is the day when we receive God’s Word in the power of the Spirit as the Lord indwells his new corporate temple. The Bible places an essential and glorious emphasis on the gathering of God’s people. So, in this pandemic moment, how can we honor the Lord’s Day?
1) We can long for the next gathering of God’s people. Suffering and loss often make us grateful and convict us of taking things for granted. When we are sick we are freshly grateful for health. When we say goodbye to beloved friends and family we are freshly grateful for the time we do have with them. The longing is a way of honoring the thing we are missing. So, let us long for the gift of the gathered church. One day soon, we will enjoy it again.
2) We can prioritize those gifts through digital means that must soon be experienced in person. Nothing replaces the gathering of the church. But God has been kind to allow us digital means to hear songs, with the knowledge that our brothers and sisters are also singing, though we are all apart and in our homes. God is allowing us to still hear preaching, though without the gift of a hearty congregational “Amen!” and without the joy and special power of preacher and listener meeting in the same room. These gifts are not the same as the gathering, but we can honor the Lord’s Day by engaging them with faith and perseverance.
3) We can maintain the disciplines of the Lord’s Day, while we wait for the gathered church to return. There is a weekly discipline in beginning Saturday night to anticipate Sunday, in waking our children and preparing them for church, in preparing our hearts with faith, in engaging the meeting with affection and humility and joy. And, to the best that we can, we should maintain these disciplines so that, when the glorious day comes, we can eagerly reapply them to the gift and calling of gathering with the body of the Lord on His Day.
One day soon, we will gather again. One day soon, we will hear the song of the Lamb from the choir of the redeemed. I can’t wait to honor the Lord’s Day together with you again. In the meantime, it is a privilege to honor it in every way that we still can.