I was eager to return to church as it’s been over six months since I have attended a “live” service. I have been faithful to coffee/jammie church, but my church is now open for business “as usual” or is it? Where were the people? Where was the choir” Where was the orchestra? Where were the “how are you today’s?” I can talk to and worship God anywhere and anytime, but I was eager to return to church with my fellow members and worshipping together.
As I walked into the church, I realized the “good ole days” are gone for now. As I dashed into the ladies’ room to comb my wind-blown hair, there was a limit to the number of women allowed in the ladies’ room. I carefully opened the door to survey the space and see if it had reached its’ maximum of three. Oh yeah! There were only two, so I could enter.
As I walked into the sanctuary it was eerily quiet. Routine conversation and greeting our fellow church members was muted. The choir consisted of ten to twelve people masked and scattered in the choir loft. The orchestra was void of most of the instruments. The organ was quiet.
This church is one of the largest of our denomination, in the state, yet today it appeared to be the size of a small, country church. My family of four joined the church in the 1980s’ when our children were young. When I became a “single, senior” over eight years ago, that changed my circle of friends at the church. Yet, this was a place where I always believed I could see familiar faces and be greeted with handshakes, hugs and warm smiles.
I realized the required masks and social distancing would eliminate the hugs, but was hopeful the “hidden smiles” would be revealed with the arched eyebrows which happens when one does smile. Yet, there were very few smiles. I saw two couples I knew and waved from a distance, but no hugs allowed. The congregation was void of fellow, single seniors, for we are in that “age group” and many are still attending “jammie church.” I felt as though I had entered a “couples only” church, as there were only three to four single persons in the entire congregation.
Hymns were sung beneath the masks with praise to the Lord that is with us in the midst of all this “new normal.” The most important element of the church has not changed. Those of us that were in attendance were there to worship Him and to give Him the honor and glory for being with us. When the masks are removed and the virus is history, I trust none of us will ever forget what it was like to walk into a silent church. I trust we will greet one another with smiles and handshakes and thank our Lord for the times He quieted us, so all we heard was Him. Matthew 18:20 NKJ “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”