I spent some time with my son, Desmond, the other day. Senior year. Cancelled concerts. Cancelled band shows. Cancelled graduation. No time with friends. Sometimes the silent sadness, and frustration that crosses his face nearly brings me to tears. Shaun experiences the same loss and sadness with his kids at North Hills. Like any other parent with a hurting child, I want to make it better. But I can’t.
I feel the same way about “going to church.” I know many of you are aching for that fellowship. Long to see your friends, sit in that sacred space where you feel at home with our Holy God. Yes, we know that God is omni-present, with us wherever we go, wherever we are…but that sanctuary, those faces, the choir singing their hearts out… We miss it. Deep down inside it hurts. I want to make it better. I can’t.
There are some who might say, let’s do it anyway. Meet together. Pray, laugh, sing together. Some say we can…after the sanctuary is sanitized. Maybe we can meet again in the sanctuary on Sunday morning. With people wearing masks, gloves, sitting at least six feet apart. Choir singing not as a group but as individuals standing at least 6 feet apart. Is that what we want to do on Sunday morning? After worship scurry out the doors without hugs…hurried good byes.
The worship committee and session are prayerfully considering what to do about Sunday morning worship services. Last Sunday, 75 people attended the worship service on You Tube (that count is not perfect.) What does that say?
The church of Jesus Christ has experienced great loss many, many times throughout our history. The pattern set at the end of the gospels shows us a way forward. Jesus is with the disciples for one last meal. He is arrested, beaten, crucified, and buried. The loss feels insurmountable. God raises Jesus from the tomb of death. He’s back…but different. His mysterious presence startles and brings great joy to many of his disciples. Jesus meets with them one last time on a mountain in Galilee before leaving them for good. The disciples get it – life with Jesus will not be the same…but life with Jesus goes on – Christ is risen! And so are we. Jesus makes a promise - And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Life with Jesus would never be the same. Yet, the church thrived.
Brothers and sisters, what path lies before us? “We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” (Joseph Campbell)
God bless you with peace joy this day,