One of the things that I really miss regarding the Co-vid 19 epidemic restrictions is my church family. We belong to Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton Ontario and it has been my church home for pretty much all of my life.
My church family has been so very instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today. They have been a huge part of my faith journey and have helped me grow up. They rejoiced with our family and they also wept with our family. Even the people who have come and gone – we are still connected. I very much miss communing with the saints who gather there.
That first week that we had restrictions, our Sunday services were canceled and our building was closed. We met as a small group that we are a part of called a Faith Family. An emailed liturgy was provided and our tech-savvy hosts had queued up the songs for us to sing along with. It was good to be together.
Then, even those small gatherings had further restrictions.
Fortunately, our church staff is managing to video-record replicated services with an appropriately socially distanced media crew (awesome job – thanks guys) to maintain a sense of community for us. We get an email with a link and we join with many of our congregation on Sunday morning and meet digitally for worship.
We can even go to the service in our pajamas.
(but we won’t – because Martin would never go to church in his pajamas)
It does feel a little strange to worship with just the two of us but we are grateful for the attempts to keep us connected. It is good to pray for ourselves and others. It is actually good to be able to pause the service for discussion and that is a feature that would be difficult to use when worshipping in person.
Hearing from our amazing pastors and some of our wonderful musicians helps bring some of that feeling. I love the fact that Martin often plays some of the songs we sing at church but there is nothing like singing together in our sanctuary.
As we approach Easter we have been focusing on the theme of Lament and it sure seems applicable given our current situation. Last week we had a video testimony from a courageous young mother who so eloquently described her lament. We were inspired by her words and pray for her often.
I typically take sermon notes in a journal that I bring to church with me. It can look like I am doodling my way through a sermon but I find it helps me concentrate. I find that I can also look back and remember much more clearly after I have taken notes.
So we will wait. Until this is all over.
How will it change us? How will it change me?
That is yet to be seen.
But we do not wait without hope.
And it is this hope which fills us with joy despite our circumstances.