“I don’t miss church.” I (Rachel) stopped mid Facebook scroll as the thought hit me. What? Of course, I missed church! We were about a month into COVID-19-induced lockdown, and all church gatherings had ceased. During the week, I didn’t feel much of a difference, since I was still busy working, but during the weekends I had begun to feel the absence of my friends and my former routine. I missed my people. I missed hugs and spiritual conversations on a Sabbath. However, on these quiet Sabbaths, I also had to admit that I felt more rested than I had in a long time.
i can’t say that i really do, either…mind you, we’ve only been churchless for about 5 or 6 weeks here in calgary, and even when church was open and regular, i would sometimes “disappear” for this amount of time…i may feel differently if by next year, at this time, i still haven’t seen people i’ve known for decades…
What has been demonstrated is how the church serves as a social club. That’s not necessarily a bad thing - as long as we make a distinction between the social aspect of doing church, and its spiritual orientation as the family of God. The problem is that eventually the social club aspect takes over the spiritual.
When we had our first child, I spent all my time in church in the mothers’ room, which basically serves as a formality for attendance. For a time we attended a very small country church without a mothers’ room and spent the entire time bundled up in the foyer with winter winds blowing through the uninsulated door. After a short stint of this I figured out it wasn’t in my best interest, and that I really needed to skip this formality and stay home.
Fast forward a couple of decades, I had sworn off church for a couple years and decided to visit. Entering the building was like travelling back in time - nothing had changed, even where the families were seated in the pews - frozen in time. I believe that is the state of the church as well. It will be interesting to see what this hiatus will bring. I’m thinking a lot of people will find a more peaceful Sabbath - at home.
There are definitely aspects of church from which I am happy to have a break, but I believe that Christianity can only be done in the context of fellowship. My understanding is that God intends to shape us into a community that is strong and visioned enough to be the body of Christ in the world. That being said, I’m sure there will be some who can use this interruption/opportunity to evaluate their home churches and decide to either be more engaged or, if that is not possible due to the condition of their current churches, to find healthier congregations in which to serve.
I must confess that I am actually enjoying homechurch, for a few reasons:
I can select what I watch/hear based on my personal preferences.
If the music starts repeating the same few words 17 times (+ 3 extras…) I have time to go to the bathroom. Besides, I don’t have to stand for a long period of time while a group performs.
Its great to have access to several choices of great preachers throughout the country. One does not have to be stuck with the same preacher for 52 weeks. And if the preacher is illprepared that day, well, just enter a new http:// and bingo!
Can have a cup of coffee (or Roma!), with seconds being allowed.
I am afraid that when the church opens again I may end up doing homechurch instead…
One is a whited ivory sepulchre, the other, the very church of god.
Church is the starting line, NOT the finish line, although, judging by the way we used to pontificate from the podium all our weakly pride regarding our proselytizing, we don’t understand that. Church is more like the “winners circle” (replete with vege-champagne) than the pits-where the broken, the bashed, the orphans and widows are truly helped. Venerating the ritual pageantry, replete with our costumes, hairdos perfumes and iPhones (modern jewelry) reduces church to a lie of cosmic proportion.
How many others have chosen this time to get into the foxholes and trenches?
Need has never been greater.
People i meet there are rare jewels-and, curiously, they could give a tinkers damn for my politics.
And likewise, I theirs. Funny, when I discovered my church had two feet, and I could go to those who could not (or, more often than not) WOULD not come
I discovered MY “home church”.
I guess it’s a combination of both. I am taking from 9 to 12:30 to follow some programs online, two services and one SS. The rest of the day I just rest and do some reading in my backyard. It’s not too hot yet, but soon I won’t be able to stay outside. If Sabbath is a time to rest, that’s what I am doing very well. Not sure I want to go back to the old way…