Social Distancing and church
It’s no secret that my church is very important to me. This is where I found most of my close friends. This is where I’m able to use my gifts as a musician. This is where I find comfort in times of uncertainty. First Christian of Norman is a place that I know will always be there for me and my family so knowing that we couldn’t walk through those doors this morning and participate in our Sunday routine made social distancing and self-imposed quarantine very real.
Our church is not very technologically savvy or one of those churches that has .tv after its name. The staff sees the benefit of being up to date when it comes to technology and social media and is trying to play catch up but I get the feeling that they do so reluctantly because a sense of reverence and mystery is lost in this modern age. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. This morning’s church service was live streamed to the masses with no one in the pews.
Our little family gathered around the TV, Harry lit a candle and I prepared a communion of Nilla wafers and water. I missed sitting in my choir seat, singing the hymns, seeing familiar faces, and sharing communion with the sopranos on either side of me. I missed gazing at the beautiful stained glass windows, sitting in silent prayer while still rubbing shoulders with the person next to me; keenly aware that I am apart of this beautiful expression of the body of Christ.
However, I was able to have the most important people in my life right next to me as Psalm 23 was read and a story of Jesus healing a blind man. I was still able to enjoy the voice of one of the most important musicians in my life and still able to listen to our Minister turn a story from John 9 into a relevant message. Even though I couldn’t pass the trays of communion to my fellow choir members, I was able to pass our humble little Keebler communion to my family (even Conan partook) because all are welcome at God’s table. Christ gave himself for all of humanity, not just an elite group or for those who made up a magic phrase. Until we can be back with our church family, this will suffice.
Our interim associate Minister started the service with a prayer that will carry me through the week:
God of order and calm in the midst of chaos- we assemble in the most unusual of times, under the most unusual of circumstances and in the most unusual of ways. It feels so strange, awkward, bazaar, and clearly unwanted. And yet, we know that you are present with us; mysteriously and wondrously.
We know that you are walking with us through these troubling life-altering days. So enable us to still see ourselves as a unit. A company of believers united in faith and in a longing to honor you.
From whatever room and whatever place we find ourselves today, help us to feel a genuine connection. To voice our shared expression of love for you. To see where before we could not. For we know we are the not the first to feel disconnected, confused and searching. We join the host of faithful who have gone before us in difficult times. Gone with you. And found the ability to wash away the mud, the messiness ,and see with new eyes the majesty of your work amongst us.
Forgive our doubts, our bursts of frustration, our pangs of anxiety, fear, and any sense of apprehension. Then, oh God, grant us peace, calm, reassurance. Be present to all who struggle during these difficult and trying times financially, personally, physically, emotionally, profoundly. Then inspire us to be the voices of hope, the hands of assistance, and the embrace of comfort. In the name of Jesus; the light in our darkness and hope needed for this most unusual of Lenten journeys. Amen