The start of the Academic Year gives us some routine, but things are still very uncertain. Both churches are open on Sundays at the usual times, but the service is shorter and with no singing. As I write this, some towns are having tightened restrictions and it may well be that some further lockdown measures will come to North Antrim.
I will do all I can to keep the routine of worship Sunday by Sunday. If you haven’t ventured back to church, that’s OK, lots of folk are still nervous and afraid since the virus is still out there. I know others have had their health concerns in the last few months and aren’t ready to be out and about.
If you are staying away because you can’t sing a hymn or you can’t have your favourite pew, then you need to ask yourself what church really means to you. God can see you wherever you sit and he knows who you are even under a face covering. Singing is only of many ways to praise God. The Prayer Book is more important than the Hymn Book. And even though we can’t sing, we can still read a hymn and indeed tell the story of a hymn every week.
Let me share with you this little article called, “Things that never happen in church”
- Sidesmen calling for help in taking up the offering because the Alms dish is too heavy
- A dozen parishioners asking the Rector for any work they would like to do for him during the week
- Parishioners coming straight in and sitting as near the front as possible
- Every head reverently bowed in prayer
- A choir that does not find a single thing to whisper about during the sermon
- A pew being graciously given up to welcome a stranger
- No-one getting up or moving about during the service
- Everyone commenting on how well they enjoyed the sermon and how it applied to them
- Parishioners inviting their friends and neighbours to come to church with them
- The Rector saying “I didn’t have time to prepare a sermon, so here is what funny things happened to me this week”
These are things that never happen in church, but unless you come along, how will you know?
I would hope that this continuing pandemic would make us ask serious questions about what is important in life. We need to take care of the health of our souls and the church is God’s repair shop and dispensary. Holy Communion is spiritual medicine and although the administration of Communion is disrupted because of the virus, we still need to receive the gifts that God freely gives in his sacraments.
God willing, places of worship will remain open if congregations are responsible about hygiene, social distancing and wearing face coverings when appropriate… I might not be able to tell if you fall asleep during the sermon!
- If a car only starts once a week… is it faithful?
- If your fridge only works every other day… is it faithful?
- If your newsagent only keeps your daily paper on odd days… is he faithful?
- If your boiler only works every other week… is it faithful?
God is faithful and he dosen’t ask a lot from us to come into his presence every Sunday.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10 v 25