While most of America has adapted to the current state of the world today, conveniently named as the “new normal”, the change has not been without its downfalls.
The familiarity with wearing facemasks while out in public, practicing social distancing while in the proximity of others and staying indoors rather than journeying out is becoming commonplace, the feelings of comfort are anything but.
On any given Sunday, you are likely to find individuals preparing for worship. Whether in a church, mosque, cathedral, or any other building where worship is held, people are preparing to attend service. Yet due to the pandemic, the ability to physically join these worship centers has been all but halted.
Whether it be due to seating logistics, ventilation issues or any other reason, the doors of many of these venues have been and remain closed. Various reasons from government mandated size restrictions or to the concerns of members whose safety fears have been heightened, pews remain empty.
While some churches are fortunate enough to broadcast their services online, all are not. What happens to the members of those congregations that don’t? The desire for the word and the relationship fostered from the teachings of it still exist.
How long will this separation continue? What will symbolize its end? Will we feel comfortable enough to return to the venue to worship? Will ever back to “normal”? What constitutes normal? The ability to hug, kiss, be closer than 6ft? So many of the actions we are familiar with performing have now been pushed to the wayside, for the sole benefit of maintaining our lives and livelihoods.
The only constant during this pandemic has been God. As they say, “He remains the same…today…tomorrow…for always. We must realize that while God didn’t create this, God did allow it. He allows our lives to become “unstable” so that we can learn to cling to Him.
Being a regular member of the congregation, aspects previously taken for granted, I currently miss. I miss singing along, off key, to familiar church hymns. I miss regularly placing my tithes/offering in the dish going around the pews. I miss the “discreet” sharing of the church candy with other members. Simple things not currently at my disposal, I miss.
Yes, I can still sing at home. Yes, I can pay my tithes online at home. Yes, I can furnish my own candy, from the comfort of my home. All these customs are still available, but are not the same.
The love for God and for one another felt in the church from others are not found. While I welcome the forthcoming loosened restrictions on the world, approval to return to “normal”, I cannot say that my desire to remain safe will mimic it.
I will still be cautiously aware of my surroundings and the cleanliness of those in it. I can also say that I will not be among the first of the flock returning to the church to give God the praise He is due. I will continue to remain in my home, worshiping, praising, and paying my tithes. While others may not see my presence in the flesh, God does, and He knows my heart. His approval is the only one I need.