My Thoughts. . .
What if? What if, in 1984 it was proposed that your congregation try something different? The elders listened, agreed, and then implemented the following?
On the following Sunday no one was required to show up at the building. Everyone could stay at home. Each family would turn on their TV set to a special channel and be guided through their edification service.
No one would need to wear his “Sunday best.” One could remain in pajamas if desired. Men would not need to shave or comb their hair. Women would not have to worry about what they were going to wear. Bare feet could remain bare. Who was going to know?
The songs were recorded earlier, and these were displayed across each TV screen. Several had agreed to sing soprano, alto, tenor and bass with each recorded song. The congregation, at home, could sing along with them. Of course, if we had done this at the building, someone would have charged that we had a choir rather than a dozen people serving as song leaders. Even multiple song leaders would have been questioned.
Each household prepared the fruit of the vine and the unleavened loaf for their participation. An elder was videoed saying a prayer for the bread and then the fruit of the vine. Who would serve the communion? The woman of the house had prepared the bread, so she walked back to the kitchen and brought everything into the living room. She passed out the bread to each family member. She did the same with the fruit of the vine. After all, we were not at the building.
Then it came time for the contribution. One of the elders spoke for a few minutes, outlining the work the congregation was involved in. Then he had a prayer after giving instructions on how one could give electronically. Some had signed up earlier so the program took their contribution from their bank account and deposited it into the church’s. This was done each Friday or Saturday when the bank was open. However, this caused some to question whether the money was given on the right day?
Some were concerned whether we were scripturally partaking of the Lord’s supper. 1 Corinthians 11:18-20 was read to prove Paul said the church was to “come together in the church” and it was to be in “one place.” They felt we all needed to meet in the auditorium to partake together for our actions to scripturally be the Lord’s supper. Of course, that is the King James translation, which is not followed by later translations which used older and better manuscripts. Actually, the church is together electronically although we not in one physical room at the church building. We were in Jesus and partook as his one body of people. Of course, church buildings weren’t introduced for two or three hundred years after the first century.
However, someone might wonder if by not meeting together at the church building, if we are being guilty of “forsaking the assembly” (Hebrew 10:25)? True, we may not be meeting in the church building in a room called the auditorium, but biblically no one met in such a place for almost three hundred years after the first century. We still meet and fulfill Hebrews 10:25. We were together in our actions of partaking. And, we were together through an electronic assembly.
The first Sunday we met about 120 were viewing the service when we began. If that averages to three people in each home viewing and participating, the overall number would be about 360. If the average was four per household, it would be 480. Someone said that according to another count over 1,000 people were viewing our site.
If the COVID-19 Virus had hit us in 1984, we would have been doing then all the things we are doing now. We would go from a traditional church building worship to an “in house” worship. The house to house worship would be very informal and scriptural (Romans 2:46; 5:42; 12:12; 20:20; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2).
I miss being at the church building to meet and greet before assembly time. I miss the Bible class I attend. But, through the courtesy of COVID-19, we are experiencing “church” while staying at home! We are meeting together, house to house as they did in the first century. We just happen to have the Internet!