Sunday was hard. I stayed home from the Village at the Elder’s request. It makes sense. Kathy is at high risk for getting the virus. Patients at the Veterans Hospital are at great risk and she roams all over the hospital. It is a building filled with elderly, immune compromised people. It is good for her to avoid being around lots of people. No one wants to be the person who passes the virus to someone else, but of course someone will. Someone perhaps already has. As wise as we can be isn’t going to be wise enough to stop the spread of the virus. Still, we take precautions as best we can.
I tuned in to the livestream, but it’s not really the same as being present. Don’t get me wrong. It was great to join in. It just isn’t the same. I missed so many things. I missed the waves and shouts of greeting. I missed the aromas wafting in from the kitchen. I missed being shyly handed a shaker by a timid Village child. I missed speaking out God’s call to worship. I missed raising my arms in offering God’s blessing and the exquisite pleasure of hearing you all cry out, “And also with you.” I missed little ones crawling on my lap for a round of the “Hugen Hugging Machine” or to play “Achoo!” with the cross I wear around my neck. I missed the intimate conversations with those of you who are hurting deeply. I missed watching people gathered around plates of food and speaking into each other’s lives. I missed being able to sit in the Healing Chair and let myself be lifted into the Presence. Reciting the ancient creeds and joining my voice to the other voices singing the beautiful songs of the community was something that felt very different in the isolation of my living room.
I’m profoundly grateful to have had a taste of the community in worship, but in many ways it was harder to get only a taste and not the whole meal. Jesus prepares a banquet for us, but in this world we get bits and pieces. Scraps of bread. A dip of wine. Something, but nothing at all like what someday comes.
I thought it sadly amusing that Eric talked about what we do together in worship on a Sunday when many of us couldn’t or shouldn’t be together in worship. So I mourn and grieve and lament what we’re missing while we go through this trial, while at the same time rejoicing that we are still one body, one blood, one life in Christ who makes us one no matter how we are scattered.