I’ve been reading articles from the general secular society, “I Don’t Want to Go Back,” “I Have to Go Back,” “I Must Go Back,” etc. about how folks do, do not, and aren’t sure about re-assembling at work places, former haunts and routine stops. As our churches are having their initial re-assembling conversations or actually doing it, I can’t resist offering a few observations. I have hesitated to do so but do think that a variety of perspectives is probably helpful even if I offer nothing new.
Re-assembling is a tremendous opportunity that will require a lot of prayer, energy and vision to adequately use. To keep people safe while regathering for public worship – and to capitalize on the spiritual hunger, need for connection, and address the spiritual issues generated by the pandemic is a huge task. But it is opportunity: opportunity to connect to people in new ways, opportunity to speak to some folks we have never seen at worship before, opportunity to keep what we gained while acknowledging the depth of our losses. Re-gathering for worship is like re-launching your church, or at least I think it should be.
Plainly we will not reassemble as if nothing ever happened. The loss of human life, the divisiveness in our society, and human fear are real. But also the gains: people have learned that they can worship and hear the Good News online in ways that we have never heretofore explored. Since we will not go back to what was, we will have to condition ourselves and our communities to the “new normal” so often discussed. But also we are called to not lose what we have gained in terms of online awareness and, in many places, a sense of community involvement outside our churches’ membership.
We will have to stay on top of new developments, health wise, as well as, the unfolding impacts of the pandemic beyond the immediate moment or situation. Being sensitive to others and their needs, including sustaining good health practices such as distancing and masking, are essential as the pandemic trends continue to decline and we help our world continue to address those same issues.
All this work will mean that each of us, lay and clergy leaders alike, will have to work hard to care for ourselves and our sisters and brothers. Rest, steady and realistic goals, a time away to clear your head and heart, companions to do the work with, all those things and more are essential as we enter this new stage of the pandemic.
What is new in this offering is the promise of my continued prayers as you help the Body of Christ re-assemble in new and sometimes unfamiliar ways.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
– Acts 2:1
Grace and peace,
If you would like to view past editions of Hello from Harvey,
follow this link: https://capitaldistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/