And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42
The ministry to “shut-ins” has changed through the years. I remember as a youth delivering cassette tapes to the homes of folks too sick to attend meetings of the local church. That short visit and perhaps a phone call was as much fellowship as these dear saints would get in a week.
Cassette Tapes became CDs. CDs became MP3s. MP3s have become live streaming. While many fellowships simply stream, which is like having a private TV channel, some use interactive streaming with tools like ZOOM (R} [http://zoom.us].
We have been separated by distance and quarantine and medically necessary isolation for half of 2020. My wife and I have visited fellowships around the country, and even the world. My wife loves to attend a Women’s Bible Study hosted over a thousand miles away. The study is followed by at least an hour of “catching up” as the ladies talk like they were in the fellowship room drinking tea. The same is true for several Sunday and Wednesday meetings of the local church.
This Lord’s Day we plan to Break Bread in remembrance of our Savior with folks from several countries and a few time zones. We will join in prayer, and listen as the Apostle’s Doctrine is preached. Then, we will all unmute our microphones and enjoy fellowship with one another. For many, that is all the interaction they will get this week, but it is enough encouragement to keep them going for another long week of being alone.
Yes, it is different. But, I think it beats a cassette tape and a rushed visit.
With inexpensive smart phones and affordable data plans, the only thing keeping some folks isolated is the knowledge and confidence to join in. A visit or two (with masks and clean hands) may be necessary, but we can make it possible for true shut-ins to benefit from fellowship redefined. No cassette tape required.