Riding around town earlier this year, my 3-year-old daughter shouted, “Look, a church!” It took me a second to understand what she meant. I didn’t see any churches. All I could see was a parking deck. Then I realized my daughter couldn’t remember our church building. Since last summer our church has been meeting under the cover of a parking deck so that we could still assemble in person without wilting in Alabama’s summer sun.
No doubt our church could have saved money and hassle by offering only livestreamed preaching and music. I could have been spared a wicked sunburn on Easter when we switched to the top of the deck. But the body of Christ, or church, isn’t the same when you separate its members (1 Cor. 12:27). The hands and feet and ears and eyes need to be assembled for this body to work for the good of all.
Christians need to hear the babies crying in church. They need to see the reddened eyes of a friend across the aisle. They need to chat with the recovering drug addict who shows up early but still sits in the back row. They need to taste the bread and wine. They need to feel the choir crescendo toward the assurance of hope in what our senses can’t yet perceive. My daughter needs to know the church members, even if it means wearing masks and setting up lawn chairs in a parking deck.
Read the rest of Hansen's piece on The New York Times.
Collin Hansen is an advisory board member and adjunct professor at Beeson Divinity School and is vice president for content and editor in chief of The Gospel Coalition.