A post-pandemic perspective on the Body of Christ
| Are we truly together online? Can we have communion in a virtual church? Who should bless the bread and wine in such circumstances? If anyone, from anywhere, can meet online what does it mean to talk about a local church? These are some of the questions provoked by the church's pandemic experience during the lockdown. The more fundamental question here is what is the Body of Christ? Is it the buildings, church organs, coffee hours, and hymnology of recent centuries or is there a more ancient pattern of doing church being rediscovered now?
It was God who created the human body, formed it from the clay, filling it with his breath, crafting it into His own image. Marred by sin and our lost connection with the Divine our bodies started to decay and die. Christ redeemed us by becoming human with a physical body showing us what it means to know and live for God to the limits of our humanity. He sacrificed Himself for us. His body was broken for us. Then raised from the dead, his body glorified, he ascended to the heavens to send His Spirit to dwell in the physical tent of the church, the temple of our bodies. Our bodies are a fitting dwelling place for God as demonstrated by the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost. God, Himself lives in the Body of the Believers, mysteriously and powerfully uniting its parts together. When we come together with eyes open to each other we learn about Christ from each other, we grow together in Christ, we are built up in Him. We need all the parts of the body to be whole and to grow together as fellow citizens with the saints who came before us.
The Pandemic was an opportunity to forget bad habits and to learn new and better ones. It extended the reach of our services to all the continents of the globe. As we come back together as the Body of Christ can we adopt better ways forward or will we slip back into bad habits? What should the new balance between the physical and the virtual church be?