It is difficult to understand what people mean when they say it's time to "reopen the church." How can you reopen something if it's never been closed? As far as I know, Holy Cross has never been closed. We might not be meeting inside our building like we typically do, but heaven forbid we would confuse our building with the church. Where and how we meet and gather counts for very little in the scheme of things. What matters, and what makes us church, is how we carry out the mission and ministry that God has entrusted to us. The church is God's people at work in the world, sharing the love of Christ, caring for one another, extending hospitality to strangers, living out Jesus' Kingdom ways in our daily lives. By the grace of God, we are still doing these things even though we can't safely meet inside our building right now.
I'll admit that worshiping in a parking lot, with the pastor standing in the bed of a pickup truck is a little strange. But even in a parking lot God still speaks to us through Word and Sacrament. Without a doubt, remembering our baptisms with a Super Soaker is a little unconventional, but don't forget that God brought water from a rock when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. While there is no biblical precedent for Zoom meetings and Facebook Live gatherings, keep in mind that God sent Paul a vision so powerful that it knocked him off his donkey.
We don’t have to worry about not being inside our building right now. There’s no need for alarm even if we have to worship in the parking lot all summer long. (Unless you find the prospect of me wearing shoits to worship alarming.) All that really matters is that we keep being the church. That’s why God has gathered us together as Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Continue to be fed and nourished by God’s Word through Parking Lot Worship or FaceBook. Continue to support our Food Pantry. Check up on other members of our congregation and other people you know who may need your love and support right now. Join a Zoom Bible Study or Centering Prayer group. Pray for all the essential workers who have continued to work throughout this pandemic. Do whatever you can to simply share the love of God with whoever you encounter. In other words, continue to be the church. Let the world know that our church doesn’t need to reopen. It has never closed.