This morning was a vastly different morning than the morning of my youth. I dont quite yet know how I feel about that (completely, I don’t think any of us yes know), but I do know it was vastly different.
In my youth, whether I liked it or not, Sunday Morning meant going to church. Although I had friends and did have fun at church, it was not always the number one place where you wanted to go. I can recall many saturday nights that coould have been sleepovers that were never meant to be because we had to go home and go to bed for church. Many times, Satudays, were no different than “School Nights” in our hoouse because it unfairly (in my opinion) meant going to bed at the same time we would have on Sunday night to prepare for school on Monday.
Now, as an adult, I relish my time at church. IT truly is where I feel closest to God. It is also where I feel closest to my grandfather who has since passed. I am disappointed every sunday when I still don’t see him sitting outside our Youth Director’s office. I know he is there, like he was every Sunday when he was alive, but he is not physically there. That is not all though. I relish that time becasuse no matter what my week has been like, no matter who I have met that has challeneged my patience, no matter what meeting that could have been an email, I walk out of that holy place a new person. It never ceases to amaze me, but it restores my faith in hummanity and in myself – week after week after week.
This week was different, however. This week was Church 2.0. This was church in the age of Coronavirus. This was church in the age of the anomaly that is the term Social Distancing.
I sat in my underwear, with my parents who were in their pajamas to attend church this morining. We mirrored our iMac to our TV using AppleTV and we watched the services as they were streamed through Facebook live. It was VASTLY different from any church service I have EVER attended. And oddly enogh, I walked away from church with the same restoration of my faith that I have the million times I have walked away from church before. God Truly works in mysterious ways.
Was it different? Yes, it was.
Do I prefer the face to face meeting? Yes of course. I oddly enough don’t even like attending church in your underwear or pajamas.
The older I get, the most I listen to my gut, the feeling my students call jujuu. That conscience or gut feeling that many attirubute to god. He spoke to me today and many others through one of the songs we sang called “The Cantcicle of the Turning.”
I fell in love with the song I heard several years ago, and those feelings of joy came turning back as we sang to our tv screen. Truly, god spoke to us this morning through song. The Question is, were you listening?
My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the one who waits.
You fixed your sight on the servant’s plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?
My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears,
For the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.
Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me.
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn. (Refrain)
From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
every tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
These are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn. (Refrain)
Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God’s mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forbears heard
is the promise that holds us bound,
‘Til the spear and rod be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around. (Refrain)
Read back over the lyrics, my friends. Listen to what they are saying. Yes, this is an especially challenging time for those of us who love the church. Yes we have been scared and are still scared. Yes, we are confused. But must importantly, YES. GOD. IS. WITH. US.
And for that, my soul cries out with what you know is a joyjul shout!
To my trinity family, I missed seeing you this morning, but until things change, we must keep the faith and the safety of others (like Halleigh) close to our hearts.
To those who do not worship with me, my message is simple: Keep the faith. WE have been through dark days in the past, and we will have many more to get through in the future. We will only be able to do it, together.
God’s Peace and Blessings to one and ALL! AMEN.