I can’t go to church.
The building is closed.
Going to church
I feel an ineffable sorrow, a profound sadness. I was raised in the church, am a missionary’s daughter. I came to know Jesus as a very young girl. Attended church all my life. It’s in my marrow, the warp and woof of who I am – this habit. Rising in the morning, getting dressed, going. Serving. Worshipping. Learning. Praying.
We rejoice, we weep. We sit transfixed, leaning in as the Word of God is given life, taught, and exposited. We are challenged, encouraged, called to action. We do all this together – in a building.
Missing what we know
And today, I mourn the loss of that.
I miss the people I would see there. I miss the opportunity to help, to interact meaningfully with others. I miss the laughter and the tears.
Not perfect, finding healing
It’s never been perfect of course. We are human beings, with all our failings, foibles, and weaknesses. We have hurt each other. Sometimes terribly. Some have left and never returned.
At times, I didn’t want to go church either. I was hurting, in pain, angry at life’s tragedies and at God. For me, those times didn’t last long. I had too much of a longing to reconnect with God and the people I cared about.
And there is healing to be found despite all the pain. Forgiveness given and forgiveness sought. We work our way through many varied circumstances, from the sublime to the ridiculous. From the beautiful to the horrific.
And we carry on. Our commitment first to Christ, then to one another and to the world. We find wholeness in the relationships we form, in the prayers prayed over us and the ones we pray over others. We find sweet comfort.
The “new normal”
Now we are cut off, splintered from our “normal.”
It’s part of the losses we are now facing. And I think it’s important and necessary to grieve those losses.
So now we are adapting, finding new methods. Leveraging technology.
We know the church isn’t the building. It’s you and me. The people. The building facilitated the meeting. Gave us prescribed places and times. But the Church is flesh and blood, the body of Christ, we are not the place we gather.
So now we are meeting virtually. Video chats, online church, and the start of online Connect Group too.
COVID-19, staying safe
We need to make it a priority to keep one another safe. To flatten the curve. Practice social distancing. We need to become fluent in the new language of the life we are living.
The Church is no stranger to suffering. We live in a fallen world. Terrible things have happened and do happen.
Jesus never promised us a life free of difficulty. What He promises is His presence, is His peace.
He said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.“ John 14:27.
It’s not a bandaid you slap on your fear. Or a mantra or a chant. It’s moment by moment – breathing His peace in and breathing the fear out. We find His grace made sufficient in all our weaknesses. It’s looking for the faithfulness of God and finding His mercy new each day
We, the Church
The building may be closed.
But the Church is open.
So let’s love one another, comfort one another, and encourage one another.
That’s what we, the Church, are called to do.
Join us for church online at sanctuschurch.com. At 9 am, 10:45am, 12:30pm, 4pm, and 7pm.