My iPhone can’t save me.
Netflix can’t protect me.
TikTok won’t cover me.
Twitter can’t teach me.
An Instagram filter can’t help me.
On this Resurrection Sunday, I’m thinking about a Biblical figure who knew a little something about being on lockdown. The Apostle Paul is widely credited (and often disputed) for his authorship of revered letters in the Bible that were sent to Timothy, Titus, the Ephesians, the Philippians, Philemon, and the Colossians. On any given Sunday, you’ve probably quickly thumbed through these chapters trying to keep pace with the church program.
In some of these writings, Paul expressed gratitude for gifts, asked for mercy on behalf of a slave, and offered guidance for building a church that not only could endure the test of time but also the choices of the people within it. Remarkably, he did all this while in prison.
These audacious letters penned by a shackled prisoner are commonly known as the Pauline Letters or the Pauline Epistles. They are beloved scriptural passages that are often quoted and serve as a blueprint for the church as we know it today. Amid a global pandemic that has the fortunate begrudgingly confined to their homes and essential workers relegated to the front lines, I’m reminded that Paul made two things crystal clear: The church is not a building; the church is its people.
“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV)
As a little girl, Easter Sunday meant pretty dresses, golden egg hunts (that resurrected my competitive spirit), and baskets full of chocolate goodies. As a grown woman, it took on a more mature meaning, but my outfit (and hair) still slayed.
“Amid a global pandemic that has the fortunate begrudgingly confined to their homes and essential workers relegated to the front lines, I’m reminded that Paul made two things crystal clear: The church is not a building; the church is its people.“
This year, stay-at-home orders have brought us back home — back to what it means to be a member of the body of Christ. This year, my household is watching a service online. The attire is leisure apparel. Gospel music plays over a Bluetooth speaker. But my God, He’s still here. He’s still the same.
Still got up.
Still on the throne.
Still watching the sparrow.
Still in love with His children.
If we are the church, how will we continue to be the church today and every day? (1 Corinthians 3:3-9)
If prison couldn’t stop Paul, then certainly a pandemic can’t stop us from being a living, breathing, and walking manifestation of the Great Love.
My favorite Easter Sunday dress had layers of billowing tulle with tiny bells sewn underneath that would chime as I walked hand in hand with my great grandmother in white lace socks inside patent leather shoes. Minus the bells and whistles, let’s dress up in kindness, compassion, patience, wisdom, knowledge, and fortified faith.
I don’t know about you, Church. But I am so grateful to get back home.