So I’ve been feeling bad about the fact that I didn’t begin blogging at the beginning of Lent, as has been my practice for the past few years. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to – it was weighing heavily on me and as the days passed, I kept promising myself I’d get to it the next day. But then the next day would pass and my best intentions would fall by the wayside.
And then the word lost its mind. I do not mean that derisively – I just feel like we are all in a certain kind of insanity right now. Maybe it’s overreaction, but the only way to know for sure is to not take the measures that are being taken, and have the possibility of the worst happening. And no one wants that.
So we are doing the best we can in the midst of these strange days. My Mother and I keep reminding each other of that ancient Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. It feels like this pandemic is exactly what that refers to.
On Sunday, the church where I serve, Graceview, made the difficult decision to cancel worship for the next two weeks. We are erring on the side of caution, but since we have an older demographic in the congregation, it seems like the wise thing to do. We have cancelled meetings and events – just about anything we do as a group – for the next two weeks. And it’s strange. It feels so strange to have two weeks when there will be no worship service…so strange to not be thinking towards what hymns we will be singing, what message I will be preaching, what other preparations need to be made for the service.
But here’s the thing – we are still the church. We are the church regardless of whether we are able to meet as we usually would. We are the church no matter how strange the days become. We are the church. The church is a people – you and me, and all the other brothers and sisters in Christ across the globe.
So while our worship gathering is cancelled for the next two weeks, we need to remember that doesn’t mean don’t worship. That doesn’t mean don’t study the Bible, pray, reach out to those who might need a kind word. We can continue to do all these things, every single day, whether we are together or whether we are practicing social distancing.
To that end, I’m going to commit to blogging every day during this hiatus. On Sundays I will post a video that will be a little sermonette. It won’t be the same as our worship services, but I will do my best to provide you with some faith material – thoughts, scriptures, prayers and links to some songs that I hope will uplift your spirit in these strange days.
For today, let me leave you with this verse, which my father used as a Call To Worship every Sunday while serving Amberlea Presbyterian in Pickering (and which feels appropriate for these times, and for the fact that I’ve just return from an outdoor run):
Dear friends, do not grow weary, do not grow weak. Trust in the Lord and you will find your strength, even in these strange days. Amen.