Imagine yourself in a dark, damp room. A jail cell. You’re alone. Just you, a concrete slab, a notepad and a pencil. You know you are nearing the end of your life. Who would you write a letter to? What would you write? Maybe the first letter goes to your mother, your spouse or your kids. Maybe you send a letter to someone asking for forgiveness. Maybe you just sit in silence, looking back at your entire life, your mind filling with regrets. Maybe you begin to acknowledge all the good things you have accomplished.
The apostle Paul is in this position as he begins to write a letter to his mentee Timothy. Paul and Timothy had been on mission trips together, led churches and movements together. They held the mantle for leading the Church, which was a brand-new creation. But something was about to change. Paul was about to die, and he wanted to encourage Timothy to not allow the Church to die as well.
In 2020, a massive change happened. Coronavirus swept through our world, shattered economies, displaced people, and closed our church buildings. Does the church closing its doors mean that the Church could possibly die as well? The Church Has Left the Building. But isn’t the church a building? No. The Church is the people, those who follow Jesus. So, we have to ask ourselves, will our church die, or will our faith die, because we are forced to close our doors?
I bet Paul and Timothy thought the same thing. If Paul dies, does the Church die? And Paul starts off his letter with a bang. He thanks God for the ancestors before him that served God. He reminded Timothy of his heritage of Jesus followers as well.
Look back at your life right now. Who has influenced your faith? It may feel like an “off” season, a miniature vacation from church, but don’t take a break. The Church was never intended to be focused on a building. You are the Church.