On March 8, the Southeast church held its last in-person services until yesterday. That was twenty-six-weeks ago, or call it six months or half a year.
When the Corona Virus pushed us to close, I predicted that it would last no more than six weeks. I was close, really very close, missing by only three and half months. But, it finally ended.
Yesterday was “Southeast Reopens Day.” Here are a few impressions:
- Even with face-coverings, it was apparent that everyone was happy and excited. It was in their eyes, and their eyes were sparkling.
- The numbers indicated that half the congregation attended the live services, while the other half watched the live stream from home.
- I wonder if our national circumstances have permanently altered the idea that “church” can only happen in one large building?
- Preaching for six months to a empty worship center was a sad and lonely substitute for a live and joyful congregation.
- The worship was rich and robust. The prayers full of gratitude and faith. The Spirit was with us. Now, let me tell you about the biggest impression of all.
The Biggest Impression
We have a children’s contribution every week to help hundreds of Haitian kids receive a Christain education. For twenty-six weeks, our children have been saving their money in jars and cans. Yesterday, they finally got to give it. Their jars and cans were stuffed and overflowing. Child after child waited their turn to pour money into a large basket. It was beautiful and it overwhelmed me to tears.
It will take some time to determine where we are as a church. But that’s okay. It took twenty-six weeks to get us to yesterday; perhaps another twenty-six weeks will reveal our new normal, if there is such a thing. Meanwhile, its full steam ahead, its time to get back to the furture.
I will close with this:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”
“What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can stand against us??
“No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
” Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(selections from Romans 8)