• South Lyon Church

One big thing COVID has done is change our habits. There are things I used to love doing that I miss tremendously and then there are some things I’ve learned to live without and may never go back to doing at all. For instance, I loved going to the movie theater at least once a month and especially for certain special movies that must be seen in the entertaining atmosphere of a movie theater. But after being restricted from that pleasure for eight months, I find I don’t really need that activity at all. I don’t think I’ll ever go to a movie theater again.


There are many other activities and events that we took part in eight months ago that we no longer do. Some of these experiences are ones we really miss and some of them are just things we may have done out of habit and COVID broke that habit. Over the last eight months, we formed new habits to replace the old ones. Healthline.com states, “It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.” Well, we’ve had 245 days since the first school shut down due to the virus to create new habits—some of which are now automatic.

Many of these new habits are great. I know busy families have enjoyed the additional together time that they didn’t even know they were missing. Several people have finished projects that they had been slowly working on for years in their limited free time. Normally stressed out people are doing creative activities they always dreamed about trying, but just never stopped long enough to accomplish these dreams. There are some old ways of living we will never return to, nor would we really want to.

One of the new habits that has developed during this time is church online. When we were first told we couldn’t meet in person together, we were devastated. Zoom quickly became a household word and phone calls became more frequent. We missed each other. We felt discouraged and alone. We looked for online sermons for encouragement and shared links with other Christian friends. One of my friends said he listened to more sermons during quarantine than he had listened to in his whole life because he had so many preachers from his past who were putting messages online, and he wanted to hear them all! Sunday mornings eventually became stress free “Sabbaths.” We could have “church” at any time convenient for us, sitting comfortably on our couches. It became quite nice, in fact. Church on a screen, however, was never meant to replace church as a community.

A study of the original word now translated as “church” shows: Latin ecclesia, from Greek ekklesia, where the word is a compound of two segments: “ek,” a preposition meaning “out of,” and a verb, “kaleo,” signifying “to call” - together, literally, “to call out.” That usage soon disappeared and was replaced with “assembly, congregation, council,” or “convocation.”

It’s not a place, it’s a people. It’s not a building, it’s a community. It’s not a structure to meet in, it’s the body of Christ to live in. This people, this community, this body needs to be together. Churches all over the country have seen a significant decline in attendance. Some of this is due to precautions taken to avoid the virus; but, many times it is due to the replacement by other “habits.” The church is no longer a people “called out” joining together as a community, but a substandard, impersonal meeting with a screen.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “Do 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.” God knew we were habitual creatures. He also knew we needed each other. So if you never step into another movie theater again, that’s okay; but don’t get used to being absent from the gathering Jesus felt so strongly about that He died on the cross to make it within our reach.

  • South Lyon Church

Well, at the time of writing this, we don’t know for sure. But then again, we do. No, it is not the Republican party and their list of candidates, nor is it the list the Democratic party put forth. Yes, you could make a case for who won the White House or what kept a majority of one of the branches of our legislature, and you wouldn’t be incorrect. There will be celebrating, as well as questioning how things could have been done differently. But with all of this--there is a clear winner.

That clear winner is us, and our democracy. But what if those I voted for didn’t win? What if the policies I feel strongly about won’t be upheld? I won’t say these things don’t matter, but we all won because of the numbers. More than 160 million individuals turned out to vote this past week. That number broke a record that has stood for over 100 years. So yeah, the winner was us: our democracy and what we believe in as a nation. A representative government was represented by a record number of voters.

Why did so many people vote ? Some most likely because they liked one of the candidates. Others may have voted for just the opposite reason, they disliked one of the candidates and wanted to make sure that one did not win. Still others may have been issue voters, going more for the platform of a party or person, rather than just liking the person. Regardless, people were energized during this election and did something about it.


Think what could happen with that energy if manifested in the spiritual realm. If we were so energized because of the person, yes He did walk on this earth as each of us do, who hung on that cross. If we were so caught up in what He was all about that we couldn’t help but go out and “vote for Him”, by sharing the message that He brought. Or maybe it is an issue we feel strongly about: those around us may be heading to hell if they don’t understand the love and salvation He brought. Our battle, our realm as Christians isn’t for Washington DC, but eternity.

Now back to the “H” word I just used. Yeah, Satan really doesn’t want us to use that or talk about that because it sounds so judgmental and awful. Well, if you tell someone they are going to hell, I would have to agree. But if you are mindful of the reality of hell enough to care, then it becomes about love. Caring enough to be involved to know where a person is in their walk with God, and helping them go forward. Satan doesn’t want us to be mindful, because if we are he loses.

My prayer is that we as followers of Christ will get as energized as people in our country did this past week, to stand up and vote for God. Maybe not with a flag on our car, or a sign in our yard, the shirt that we wear, but with a kind word and an invitation to walk more closely with God. Because when we are energized, when we are involved then the winner is. . . Christ.

Voting with my life,

Randy

  • South Lyon Church

Before COVID or pre-COVID are new terms that will be with us as we go forward. They are not the first terms to come about because of a large or traumatic event. Prior to September 11, 2001, 9-11 was only associated with the number you call in case of an emergency. Since then it has taken on a whole new meaning and probably always will. Events happen that change our lives and our lingo forever. COVID is one of those events.

Before COVID, if you wore a mask into a bank you would be asked to leave. Now if you don’t wear a mask into the bank you are asked to leave. The mask has become a symbol of the pandemic we are in the middle of, near the end of, or are maybe just at the beginning of. I personally have a half dozen different masks. Some that have been made for me by people I know, one I bought because it was a Whataburger mask, and others are more the surgical type masks. All in all, like it or not, the mask is here for a while and even become stylish for some.

What is interesting about the mask is that it does nothing for you. I remember when people first started wearing them. The discussion was why wear them, germs would only get on the outside then when you touched the mask with your hand, they were on your hand. Then over time the discussion, the reasoning for wearing them changed. It wasn’t for yourself but for others. So wearing them became a symbol of selflessness. Selflessness in our society, an interesting aspect of this piece of material with a sting or elastic band attached to it.

But before the mask, before COVID, isn’t that what a follower of Jesus was supposed to be-- selfless. Isn’t that what a true believer of Jesus would be doing anyway, putting themselves out? A lot of people are stepping up by wearing a mask for others, but as Christians we should have already been living this way, considering others above ourselves as we are told in Philippians 2:3?

In fact society has a lot of good suggestions on how to be a better person, but a lot of these ideas were covered in God’s Word long before they were painted on a sign and sold at Hobby Lobby. Expressions such as, “Choose Joy” are just a replica of scriptures like Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thes 5:16-18) And you may see an inspiring t-shirt with the words “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” Isn’t that taken from Ephesians 4:32 where we’re told, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Even when society tries to encourage teamwork with sayings like, “No man is an island,” we see remnants of 2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

So wear your mask out of concern for others, but one day when you get to lose the mask—keep the concern for one another.

Masking up,

Randy


South Lyon
church of christ

248-437-3585

office@southlyonchurch.com

21860 Pontiac Trail

South Lyon, MI  48178

  • Instagram - White Circle
  • YouTube - White Circle
  • White Facebook Icon

2017 created by South Lyon Church of Christ