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All in the family - by Mela Gillard

For most of my life, Sunday morning has meant getting up and going to church. In a sense, since March I have still got up and gone to church but it has involved opening up YouTube rather than leaving the house. I still meet with my church family on Zoom just before the service starts, but not all will be there due to family commitments or technological difficulties.

It has made me realise the privilege of being part of a church family. It is a gift of grace from Jesus. Where else do young and old, men and women from different backgrounds meet together so regularly? We are united and drawn together by Jesus, only because of Jesus.

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14)

Like any family we don’t get along perfectly. But we need each other, the weak need the strong and the strong need the weak. Jesus’ prayer before he died was that we would experience the same unity that he has with God the Father.

“I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23)

I really appreciate that we can join together online, receive the same teaching from the Bible and discuss it in our Zoom Bible studies. I am not sure what the neighbours think of our Sunday morning singing. But there is something magical about the whole church gathered together in song. There is no clear scientific agreement as to whether singing transmits COVID-19, but for the purposes of risk assessment the neighbours will be enjoying us for some time to come.

We affirm the truths we believe as we sing together. John Wesley’s advice was “Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.”

It doesn’t matter if you can hold a tune. In a previous church I remember an older gentleman who was always out of alinement with everyone else, but there was such joy in his worship of the Lord. He was an encouragement to everyone else to sing with gusto!

It will be so wonderful when we are re-united as a family. I felt a sense of grief when the church building was closed in March. But we have hope and look forward with joy to being together again.

It is a picture of what it will be like in heaven when we are re-united with Jesus and with those who have gone before:

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” (Revelation 21:3-4)

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