Has your world dramatically changed since spring? Mine certainly has. I rarely visit my parents or see friends. I order groceries online so someone can load them into the back of my car in the store parking lot. Work meetings are now held over Zoom. Last week I drove back home to get my forgotten mask because I can’t go into the Post Office without one. I have never felt so anxious about my kids heading back to school.
Wear a mask. Stay six feet apart. No handshakes. Don’t invite family over.
Tighten the budget, again.
I feel separated from my loved ones, and many of my typical activities are now off-limits. See, I like to host family gatherings; invite friends out for dinner and a movie; and visit with folks in grocery store aisles. And I deeply miss you- my church family. I miss hearing about your vacation, seeing pictures of the new grandbaby, and getting those warm hugs. Right now I cannot drop by your apartment for a quick visit, come comfort you during a hospital stay, or cry with you in your grief. I feel disconnected and a bit useless.
Our Sundays are so different. We’ve gone several months without in person worship; I now watch services online with my husband while eating Sunday supper. Many groups are on hiatus, and I don’t remember when we had our last potluck. When we gather again, there will be new guidelines and protocols to follow. Some of us just might stay in the church parking lot to listen to the car radio or decide that watching the online service is still the best option.
Thankfully, God has not changed. His love and guidance never fail us. He reminds us that church is not about the building. It is about building relationships with one another because we are in a relationship with Him. It is about being the Body of Christ at work and connecting in ways beyond shared physical space. It is being part of something greater than ourselves which requires yielding all of ourselves to Him.
Staying connected to God and each other is vital for surviving this time of trial, and whatever else may come. We can do more than survive- we can thrive!
Future posts will highlight opportunities to care for and connect with our church family and the community. Please share with me your ideas on how we can continue to be the church, together.
Laurie A. Kallenbach
Director of Care and Connections