Preaching to an Empty Room
Last Sunday was our first time of leading our online worship service from the church premises. I was surprised at the number of technical details that needed to be resolved just for that simple move from leading on Zoom from our living rooms to leading from the sanctuary. Big kudos to all the hands that were necessary to make that happen (and especially for making the last-minute mad dash to change from Zoom to Meet successful!).
I was effectively preaching to an empty room. I've been teaching to a camera for the last several weeks, but this was somehow very different. From my laptop, the camera is just a couple of feet away and I can see the matrix of your faces.
But last Sunday, the camera was mounted on the back wall of our sanctuary with lots of space between it and me. And I couldn't easily see anyone else's face on the video call. We had only 3 or 4 chairs set up, so it was truly empty. What a bizarre feeling to preach to an empty room.
The passage in Romans we're going to cover this coming Sunday describes a similar event, where God extended His Word to those who were not listening to Him. And yet He continued to extend His Word to them.
Such is our task. Even if people don't listen, we can't stop talking about the most amazing love humankind can possibly know - God's saving love for us available in Christ.
I'm not saying that we need to be rude, pushy, or annoying. We need to listen. We need to assess how receptive people are. We need the Holy Spirit to open up hearts and opportunities. But we can't stop talking about Jesus. We must not.
And not just telling each other (which is important) - telling people who don't yet believe in Him.
So even if the room seems empty to you, speak about who Jesus is and what He has done. Our Father in heaven is the example. And there was a time when some of us were the ones not listening.
(Image: Tim Boyd from Brooklyn, NY / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0))