Flesh or Spirit

– is the physical church necessary?

Written by Elder George Khoo

Contrary to how most are feeling, I am enjoying the mostly online transactions these days.

For medical seminars, I do not waste precious time travelling. Webinars are much more efficient. I gain knowledge in the comfort of my home, minimize time spent by tuning in for the duration and I stay on for as long as I choose.

The same goes for live-stream worship. The time saved on travel is now used for journaling or meditating on God’s Word. Personally, I seem to focus much better on the sermon as the speaker’s face is much closer and bigger on the TV.

So why are some pushing for the resumption of physical church? The obvious answer would be because the Bible says so:

Heb 10:24-25. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

I can think of a few reasons myself.

Singing in the sanctuary with fellow pilgrims is not the same as singing alone or as a family at home. Somehow, that corporate effort in praise is a vivid reminder of who God is and why He is worthy. It holds the promise of that better Day especially as we face stark reminders of a broken world daily.

Greetings, hugs and handshakes are prohibited now, but even a smile or a loving look can help lighten a burden without a single word spoken. Such actions sometimes convey messages better than words.

“Hello, how are you?” might have been taken for granted in days gone by. But now I begin to appreciate the importance of seemingly mundane greetings. They offer an opportunity to share something of deeper significance – opportunities for encouragement and prayer. This is something that does not happen anymore because we don’t “bump” into people via Zoom.

Also, Zoom may be good for small talk but not for serious issues. Doing the latter takes a lot more discipline.

Lastly, seeing the many families come together on Sundays, parents jostling, adults accompanying elderly parents, youths studying God’s word, friends chatting away, members praying for each other spontaneously, bring a joy the virtual world cannot offer. Witnessing such role models in action speaks a thousand words of what a church truly is; a microcosm of the Bride of Christ.

Lastly, I imagine that God would want us to use all our senses to worship Him, not just the sense of sight and hearing which Zoom and other online platforms offer.

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