by: Jeff Poppinga
Dear Faith Baptist Family,
Good afternoon! I pray that that the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Rom 15:13).
A year ago we were preparing for our first of what would be six online only Sunday services. Although I am appreciative of the technology we have to live stream our services and the technology to hold zoom meetings, it is still a poor substitute for face to face fellowship. Although it is a poor substitute, it is definitely better than no substitute. In this world, we learn to live in the real rather than the ideal. We live in the real as we hope for the ideal.
There have been many things learned over this last year in navigating the virus but one thing stands out--our need for face to face fellowship.
The apostle John comes to mind. He wrote, "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" (2 John 12). He also writes, "I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face" (3 John 14).
Though I have much to say, I would rather not use social media and the internet. Instead I hope that we can meet face to face so that our joy may be complete. I hope to see you soon and we will talk face to face.
This longing for face to face fellowship with one another comes from the image of God within each one of us. And this longing for face to face fellowship is deepened and strengthened in Christ through the indwelling Spirit. This longing is part of us because we are created and redeemed by the Triune God. The Journey study says this, "This Triune God has created us with an intrinsic need and capacity for relationships. We were not only created from intimacy, but also for intimacy. And this need for intimacy has both vertical and horizontal dimensions. That is, we have been created for (1) relationship with God and (2) relationship with others.
During this last year we have been told to stay home, stay socially distanced, and to cover our faces. But our created and especially our redeemed nature tells us to draw near, gather together, and be face to face.
I look forward to the day when we all believers will not only be face to face with each other but also face to face with Jesus (1 Cor 13:12). Face to face with every tear wiped from our eyes, with no more death, no more mourning or crying, and no more pain (see Rev 21:1-5).
I close with two sentiments: 1) I hope to see you soon and 2) Come quickly, Lord Jesus!