In a little letter written to people he loved, the Apostle John shared how he felt saying, “Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”

I know how he feels! Before now, I understood the words he was saying, but now more than ever I understand how he must have felt as he wrote them. What he says is important for us to acknowledge. Our joy is incomplete when we can’t really be together. Virtual meetings are helpful, but they can’t replace real presence. I would rather not use computer and phone. I want to come to you and talk face-to-face!!

Church family, I miss you.

I miss hearing your laughter in the commons.

I miss seeing the hop in your step as you hustle into our worship area a few minutes late (and that’s okay!).

I miss your hugs and high fives.

I miss hearing your voices sing.

I miss seeing you turn the pages of your Bibles and take notes as you learn from the Bible.

I miss being able to look you in the eye as I preach about the goodness of God’s grace and truth.

I missing telling a joke to actual people (in case you were wondering, you may not laugh at bad jokes, but camera’s don’t laugh at any jokes!).

I miss walking alongside you as we come to the communion table together.

I miss seeing pockets of you praying for one another after service.

I miss watching you serve with a smile using your gifts to bless others.

I miss hearing our kids playing games so loudly the noise travels down the hall.

I miss watching our students play gaga ball and sing together at RSM.

I miss seeing my small group in the kitchen having so much fun we forget to jump into Bible Study on time.

Mostly, I just miss being with you!

One of the hopes and prayers I have for us is that our hunger for being the church increases through this trial. If “normal” means we can be content to just attend church at a Sunday meeting, I don’t want to go back to normal. I hope this time marks us forever with a determination to never view church as a merely a once-a-week meeting we attend.

I want for us to live as the church. I long for us to be the church gathered on Sundays (sooner rather than later!). I also long for us to be the church scattered throughout our city in groups of friends on a mission to love one another and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Let’s ask the Lord to expand our desire to be the church Jesus wants us to be.

Will you go with me on this journey? Will you pray with me to see this awakened in our church? Will you help us continue to move in that direction?

The journey won’t be perfect. We will start and stop, and then start again. We will stumble and fall, and then get back up. We will need lots of grace for one another along the way. But this is Jesus’ church, and he will continue to build her up! Church, let’s trust God and keep on keepin’ on as we walk this road together by faith.

The Lord is by our side in it all!

See you soon, Jeff