Ecclesia Virtualis

The Covid-19 Chronicles : Reflections in a Pandemic, Part 8

“Our churches also teach that one holy church is to continue forever. This church is the assembly of saints in which the Gospel is taught purely and the sacraments are administered rightly.” – Augsburg Confession VII

The Covid-19 crisis has catapulted the church into the internet age of live-stream, Zoom, and audio/video services – the virtual printing press of our time. Unable to gather in groups due to health concerns, congregations are resorting to virtual gatherings as a placeholder for corporate worship. It’s the next best thing to being there. Or is it?

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Word and Prayer

The Covid-19 Chronicles : Reflections in a Pandemic, Part 4

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day….” Revelation 1:10

John was in exile on the island of Patmos, a bishop separated from his congregations. He had neither pulpit nor altar. It was Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the Day of Resurrection. What was John to do on his island of exile? John prayed. He was “in the Spirit,” worshipping in spirit and truth.

When the church is gathered as a body, we speak of “Word and Sacrament.” This is what the gathered church is gathered around – the preaching of the Word, the Breaking of the Bread, and the communal prayers of the church (Acts 2:42). This is the church’s koinonia, her common life together. But what happens when the church is scattered, for whatever reason, be it persecution or pestilence? What then?

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Exiled in Babylon

The Covid-19 Chronicles : Reflections in a Pandemic, Part 3

When the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple in 586 BC, the residents of Judea were carried off into exile, as prophesied by Jeremiah, who didn’t exactly win popularity points with a people who thought they were invincible as God’s chosen people. During their years in Babylon, the Israelites built homes, raised families, opened businesses, and settled into life in a land not their own. Some, like Daniel, Shadrach, Mishach, and Abednigo rose to high positions in the Babylonian government. 

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