In our COVID isolation season, it seems like almost overnight our world has transformed into a largely ‘cyber' community
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Cor. 13:12
In our COVID isolation season, it seems like almost overnight our world has transformed into a largely ‘cyber’ community as young and old explore the joys (and frustrations) of video call solutions like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Hangouts, and a plethora of others. Yet, it hasn’t taken very long to realize that, while helpful in a pinch, they are no real substitute for the kind of in-person community that our souls are wired for.
In a previous blog I mentioned that when God calls us to worship, it’s like he invites us to a Zoom call. It’s a place for God’s people to build relationship with him but falls short of the kind of dramatic picture of worship that the Apostle John witnessed in Revelation 4-5. But it really does underscore the fact that we believers live in the ’now and the not yet’.
One of the amazing moments of Revelation 5 is that as it moves from a recognition of a holy God on the throne to a declaration of the Lamb’s worthiness of our worship, increasing levels of creation join in the praises of the gathered; from the cherubim to the elders, to the redeemed saints, and ultimately all of creation shouting in unison,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13, NIV)
In a nutshell, it illustrates the nature of worship as a taste of eternity. When the people of God, individually or together, respond to his invitation, we are effectively caught up by the Holy Spirit as John was into the heavenly throne room. We have access through Christ to this sacred place (Heb. 10:19), and here we can realize that we are connected to a body of worshipers past, present, and even to come!
So take heart. Our personal devotions and prayer are like a one on one with God in a break out room. His word on our lips in prayer is like hearing him speak. Our words back to him create a holy dialogue. Our corporate gatherings over Zoom are a great lesson about the now and the not yet. It’s not perfect, but it’s a foretaste of the real thing!
And finally, when we enter via the portal of worship into God’s very presence, time itself is interrupted. We get a foretaste in that deep-peace place of the promise that all that hinders us here will pass away. All that we long for will be found in fullness on the day when he returns or calls us home!
As Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 13:12, don’t let our fogged up lenses distort the real image of our hope – the assurance of God’s presence today, based in the past actions of God, and the promise of what is yet to come! Until then, let’s soak up every moment of our Zoom call with God … knowing one day, our vision will clear.
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb 10:19–25, NIV).