Aug 04, 2022 |
Rector's Blog, A Tale of Two Churches| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Rector's Blog, A Tale of Two Churches
It’s a tale of two churches.
One is grieving. The church they knew and loved is gone. The building is there, as beautiful as it has ever been, and many of the people are still engaged, and relationships of deep connection, prayer and support have stood the test of the pandemic. But whenever they worship, they are reminded of just how different things are. Sometimes they are required to wear masks when they gather. For months they were not allowed to sing. This is after over a year of not being able to worship in their beloved space at all – having to watch it on a screen in their family room or, if the weather was allowing, maybe worshiping outside in a park. They’ve shown back up, but many of their friends haven’t. Some of their beloved pewmates have died. Others haven’t shown back up yet, out of caution, or because their priorities have shifted, or because they simply haven’t gotten back into the habit. Still others have found watching worship online in their pajamas a comfort rather than a letdown – especially since the church chose to change the time or location – or both – of their preferred service.
It’s not like it used to be – and that’s not just stodgy grumbling. It was something special, this church as they knew it. It was growing and thriving and joyful, and without any kind of warning the doors were closed. When they were all scared, confused, lonely, one of the main ways they knew how to find strength, direction, and connection was gone. Yes, there were digital offerings, and remote Bible studies, and neighborhood groups checking in and creative ways to be church. It was admirable and loving. But it didn’t change the fact that they never got the chance to say goodbye to what was – not really. And now the doors are open and it’s not the same and they are grieving.