The Presence of Christ: Being present in the world.
Read Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:6-8
“I am with you always”
While God is present in every corner of the universe, he remains invisible to the human eye. For a period of time, God did enter into our world in time and space through the person of Christ. While that was crucial to our understanding of God, we still live in a world in which God remains invisible. But God has not left the world with no visible presence, for he has now given the world the presence of the church.
In Matthew 28 and Acts 1 God appoints the church to be his universal presence in the world. As Christ comes to the end of his physical ministry within the world, he calls the church to become present throughout nations. But just has his presence as a relational focus, so the church is to have a relational presence in which we are to be the conveyors of his truth to all people. We are to go throughout the world calling people into a relationship with God. But we do not do this alone, for we have the promise of Christ’s presence with us. When he states that he is always with us to the end of the age, we have the assurance not only with us, but his personal involvement in our life and ministry.
The crisis we face on a personal level is never in isolation from others. When we live in the presence of Christ, we then have the opportunity to be the presence of God to others. To do this we need to be intentional in our relationship with others. There is an incredible opportunity through this crisis today to reveal Christ to the people around us. While we have certainty in the uncertain world, people around us are struggling to discover a sense of normality and security. That comes when we share the gospel with others. Peter challenges us to “always be ready to make a defense to everyone who ask you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
The question then is how can we demonstrate the presence of Christ to the world.
First, we can connect with people. While we are to be physically distant, that does not mean relational distance. There are a number of ways to connect with people even though we are to remain distant. Take to time to give people a phone call. Talk with your neighbors across the fence while mainlining appropriate distance. The problem is not the mandate to stay at home, the problem is that we become relationally disconnected and are not being creative. Second, invite people to join in watching the service online. Having a Facebook watch party. Share the links to the Sunday services with your neighbors. Third, pray for people and ask how you can pray for them. People are troubled and prayer is an opportunity to demonstrate that we care about them. Last, be aware of people’s physical and emotional needs. Because of the economic impact this is having, there are many people who are struggling to meet their basic needs. We need to be sensitive to these people and minister to their need.
As we are going through this, spend time asking God to give you opportunities to be the presence of God to those around you. Then look for those opportunities and be ready to share the reality of God’s presence with them.