Being Together in a Prolonged Pandemic
Written by Ps Zheng Haoren
Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Acts 2:42 describes the early church. It was devoted to the teaching of God’s Word. In fellowship, Jesus’ followers were committed to participation as a body of Christ and the sharing of material things. The breaking of bread covered both the Lord’s Supper and a larger fellowship meal. And prayer in their gatherings at home and at the Temple was the practice.
We were able to closely follow the model of the early church during pre Covid-19 days. But Singapore’s “circuit breaker” has disrupted our church life. It is inevitable. We thank God for the recent relaxation of national Covid-19 safety measures which must not be taken for granted.
In-person Services are now permitted for 100 worshippers at a time. At Zion Bishan, the overall take-up rate at last Sunday’s four Services was 46%, i.e. out of 400 available places, a total of 184 members attended the Services. The 10.30am Service was of course “sold out” with the full 100 pax.
This pandemic is expected to hold out for quite a while ahead. And some quarters have warned that there could be other pandemics in the not too distant future. So it seems necessary to shift our paradigm of “Doing Church during pre Covid-19” to “Being Together in a Prolonged Pandemic”. We need to adapt.
In his book Simply Christian N.T. Wright describes, “The church is first and foremost a community, a collection of people who belong to one another because they belong to God, the God we know in and through Jesus… The church exists for two closely correlated purposes: to worship God and to work for His kingdom in the world. You can and must worship, and work for God’s kingdom, in private and in ways unique to yourself, but if the kingdom is to go forward, rather than around and around in circles, we must work together as well as apart.”
Notice his emphasis on being together in worshipping God and working for His kingdom. Being together includes worshipping together, serving together, loving together, learning together, growing together, praying together, engaging culture together, being salt and light together, and so on. The question now of course is whether Wright’s emphasis on being together is relevant in a prolonged pandemic. What do you think? If we concur that this emphasis is in line with Acts 2:42 and still relevant today in this pandemic, then we need to work towards being together. Perhaps we should start by filling up the places offered at our four Services?