As many of you know, my husband and I pastor a church in Greensboro, NC. We planted Center City Church 15 years ago next month. It has been the wildest ride of our lives! It’s been a well-rounded journey…weeping, rejoicing, times of discouragement, times of delight…we’ve experienced them all.
This is our first time leading through a pandemic. Late afternoon on Saturday, March 14th we learned of the new ban our governor had announced of any gatherings over 100 people. So we put the word out immediately that Saturday night letting the church know we could not admit over 100 people into the building and encouraging people to stay home and watch it on Facebook live (we do not normally stream our services). We did come together the next day and only had 97 people present, so we were compliant with the ban! Facebook live did not go well, at all. The sound and internet connection was awful.
But I still remember the Presence of The Lord that morning, it was unreal. The move of His spirit we have been experiencing here every time we’re together is something I’ve desired as far back as I can remember. It’s as if the cloud of His glory is right over us…
“Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of God. The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud—the glory of God!—that filled The Temple of God.”
2 Chronicles 5:14
As that Monday approached we had to cancel class for CSSM (our school of ministry). And as the week progressed it was evident “church” as we had always known was changing rapidly. First it was, no more than 50 can gather, then as the weekend dawned, it was no more than 10.
We rolled with it but I must be honest, the feeling I had was a lot like cresting the lift hill on a roller coaster that had failed its safety inspection. And by the way, I hate roller coasters. So hopefully that paints a mental picture for you of what was going through my heart and mind! We arrived last Sunday morning with just a hand full of our core team to live stream service because we could not host a gathering at the building. More technical issues followed…total frustration followed.
But as the worship team began to play, there it was, the cloud.
The Presence was there, only a few people there in the room, but His glory was radiating. We’re right in the middle of a global pandemic, I don’t think a lot of us have a grid for what is happening. Things are changing daily. For the first time ever, the school of ministry met online as did one of our small groups and our Thursday night prayer meeting.
I have questions, I’m sure you do too. I have moments of fear and anxiety, I’m sure you do too. Now here’s where I’m supposed to come in and eloquently summarize the past two weeks, try my best to put a poetic bow around what’s happening in our world right now. That is what leaders are supposed to do, right? But that makes my words, my ideas the main focus.
What we need now, more than another commentary of our present situation, we need the cloud!
The cloud brings the glory into the chaos. The cloud causes His spirit to radiate hope; hope with handles we can lay hold of, hope that lasts beyond motivational words. So as we’re all in our homes for the immediate future, I encourage you to get into the secret place and sit under the cloud.
We are in a moment of rare opportunity, out of the ashes He will bring a glorious move of His spirit! We are living in the best time to be alive. Get ready, Church. He’s filling His temple with His glory.