A great big thank you to Kristen Park for her work on these small group collages alongside her timely reminder that Jesus is among us no matter where we are or how we meet! I sense that many of our small groups, while physically distancing, have actually grown closer during these times by serving each other, meeting virtually, looking forward in hope, and refusing to lose the social connections that make us the body of Christ.

Written on May 16, 2020

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. A simple definition for the word gather, is to come together, assemble or accumulate. A second definition, though, defines gather as to bring together and take in from scattered places or sources. These photos of small groups continuing to gather feels for me more like the second definition. 

Since the stay-at-home order, I’ve personally related to the feeling of being scattered and the sense of coming in from a remote place when I log on for a virtual small group meeting. Our lives which before were both casually and intimately overlapping in our homes and houses of worship are now completely, physically separate. This is a great loss, because the lives of believers are meant to be lived together.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (ESV Hebrews 10:24-25)

In the past 2 months I’ve had cause to wonder if perhaps before the lockdowns, I was taking for granted how sacred a gathering of believers is. Jesus Christ promised us:

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (ESV Matthew 18:20)

There He is. Like a watermark faintly obscuring a photo, claiming ownership for its creator, Jesus is in each of these collages gathering with us. This is a promise and truth I am buoyed by. Thanks and praise be to God for giving us the capability to continue to gather and thanks most of all for His grace and love that can sustain us through any hardship. The physical distance has been difficult for me, so I look forward to gathering again in person with my small group and the entire body of Aspen Ridge Church. Until then, I’ll bring more reverence and awe to each virtual meeting knowing Jesus our savior is there among us.

Kristen Park

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