These days following Easter have me in a “let down” kind of mood for some reason. It’s inexcusable, but it is still a reality. While we had truly blessed Easter services at Victory, the concern for many of my brothers and sisters in Christ is very real. As a part of our church leadership and broadcasting, I was in church, they were not. I have had very few changes in my life because of Covid-19. While I’m certainly more cautious, I still go to work, (my job for a public utility is considered essential.) But thinking of those no longer involved in the every day scope of life outside the home, and their inability to be physically in the worship services of our churches, makes me wonder how essential they consider themselves as the body of Christ.
It’s easy to feel unimportant when you’re away from people. Not everyone has social media, not everyone has likely been called to see how they are, or if they stand in need of something. I wonder if it was somewhat like that in the days following the crucifixion of Christ. Christians had gone into hiding, fearing they too were in line for execution because of their faith. For some reason Thomas was not with the other disciples when they had seen Jesus, once they had came back together he was hesitant to believe the Lord was alive and telling them as much:
John 20:24-28 KJV
 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
So there were another eight days between that day and the next time the group gathered together. How must Thomas have felt as they others where so excited over having seen the Lord, and wondering what direction their ministries would now go? Thomas’ ministry must have somewhat been on hold, how could he be excited about something he hadn’t experienced, He’d only been told of the visit from the risen Lord.
Is that how my brother and sisters who are suffering from a church disconnect now feel? I realize that they know the Lord is our risen Savior, but a Spirit filled service is such a part of who we are at Victory Baptist Church. We genuinely love each other’s company. We’re not without issues like any family, but I tell you they are rare. And when we are together, we feel essential! We know we are apart of the body of Christ and we share in the ups and downs of the days. Whether or not we play an active role in the church we are essential to that team of believers. But it’s been far more than eight days since we’ve gathered together with the exception of a few, and those of us who were on the parking lot for our drive in sunrise service. So how essential is everyone feeling now? I don’t know, but I know this, when we come together again it’s going to be a great day! Just as it was for Thomas when they gathered again, but this time the Lord showed up!
 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Those words of Thomas ring in my heart this morning. “My Lord and my God!” I cannot imagine how elated Thomas was to see Him face to face. And the boldness of their ministry grew to the point that many of them died for their faith.
So that also has me asking? What’s in store for us when COVID-19 is finally over? Will we return to church as if nothing ever took place, or will this be the game changer in our relationship with Christ and our church siblings? Does the church as a whole now realize that within a split second. There are people dying without Christ, and unless you’re on the inside of their lives, we have no way of getting the gospel to them. When this is said and done, will we do more for the Kingdom, will we all become essential to the building of the church? I can only speak for myself, and you for yourself. We know from the days following 911 that it doesn’t take long for people to return to their sad normal. I don’t want that to be said of me. I don’t want that said of you. I want to be team Jesus in a bolder more deliberate way. I want this to have changed me in a positive way that lasts.
When we come together again as a body fo Christ, I want to be like Thomas and stand in awe of the Lord and say “My Lord and my God!” I want to feel the Holy Spirit move as in He did in that room with the disciples. Yes, I know He is within me, and yes I feel Him move daily, but I think the Lord’s going to be a little excited too when His children get back together! Gloraaaay!!!
Just in case you haven’t heard or felt it today, You are Essential! And you are loved!