Closing was the easy part. In retrospect we know that to be true.
Closing the church for coronavirus in mid-March was easy compared to
how we re-open for worship, especially with no vaccine on the horizon.
You have an excellent group of people from our church working on the
problem and its myriad facets. You will be hearing from them this week
and we need your honest opinions.
Re-opening is going to take time and patience, but more importantly,
a deep sense of what it means to be church. We are both the gathered
people of God who come together for worship, fellowship, learning and
service, and we are the scattered people of God who worship, work and
serve wherever we are. We have been the scattered church for a while
now, and though going to worship in your pajamas has been nice, we
miss the gathered church terribly. Frankly, it is weird preaching for 5
people in the sanctuary and 200+ online. I am grateful to God for the
technology, but I miss you all something fierce.
Make no mistake, however, we are still church. We are the people of
God who gather however we can, whenever we can, because we
understand this basic truth: You cannot be a Christian all by yourself.
When I am all alone, God can come to sound like what I think and feel
and believe. But when I listen to Scripture and tradition and pay
attention to the church I serve, God doesn’t sound like me. God is bigger,
deeper, quieter and louder all at once. And I thank God for that.
You cannot be a Christian all by yourself. You know that. There are
no solo Disciples of Christ. We are all in this together, like it or not, and
the last few months have taught us how much we miss each other. And
we do miss each other, even the rough edges and sharp elbows some
people bring, that I sometimes bring.
We will take longer to open, and take more caution in doing so,
because everybody matters in the church. The pronoun “I” is ascendant
in our culture: I want my rights to do what I want. The church is founded
in the community that is God, Holy Trinity, Three-in-One. Which means
that “we” and “us” and “our” are the truest pronouns for God. And for us.
For me. We are better together. Here we stand, with God. We can do no