ON SPIRITUAL GRIEF AND THE BODY OF CHRIST by Christina Fox for Core Christianity
Each Sunday since this crisis began, I’ve found my eyes tear up during virtual worship with my church.
Easter Sunday, I cried the whole way through the service.
I cried because I wanted to hear all the voices of my brothers and sisters in Christ singing together praise to our glorious Christ who conquered the grave. I cried because I wanted to hear our voices together proclaim the truths in the Belgic Confession. I cried because I wanted to hear the word preached in person. I cried because I miss feasting together at the Lord’s table. I cried because I miss the gathered Body of Christ.
As I’ve thought about these emotions, I’ve come to realize I am experiencing a kind of spiritual grief. Though I have remained virtually connected to my church body, we are still physically apart. Though I am grateful for the technology that enables us to continue in our Bible studies, small groups, and Sunday worship, it is not the same. I can relate to Paul’s words in Romans 1:10–12:
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:9–12)
Though Paul communicated via letter and through fellow ministers with the churches he planted throughout the Mediterranean, he still longed to see these church members in person. I too feel that longing for in-person community.
That longing is there for a reason: we were created for community. We were not made to live isolated and independent from others. We were not made to do life on our own. We were made to image our God who is a community within the Triune Godhead. We were made to love, serve, and honor one another and in so doing, reflect our glorious God.