Are we ready to do church again?
While I’m sure a lot of people are wishing for the church doors to open again so that we can have corporate worship and in-person fellowship, I’m kind of hesitant to say that I’m ready or not ready to “do church again.” I’ve found that lately I’ve been the most captive audience: listening for God’s voice at home.
Of course, I agree that we should follow the guidelines of the CDC and state officials. But if the option were up to me, I’m not sure if I’d be running back into the church doors. And not because of the coronavirus.
Are you ready to do church again?
This past Sunday, I was “having church” on my back patio. Basking in the sunlight, I sang along softly to the worship music so as not to disturb my neighbors. When the pastor came onto the stage, he went right into the meat of the message. Flipping on my sunglasses, I rushed to try to catch up, scribbling the title of the message down in one hand while I flipped to the Bible passage with the other.
From the moment the pastor started talking, I was captive. I was captive unlike ever before. Hungry for the Word of God, I was actively praying for God to speak to me. I was listening for God’s voice at home.
Listening for God’s Voice in Church
It was very different from how I normally feel in church. But the reason I go and my attitude about church is the same. I’m going to church to hear the word of God, to worship him, and to fellowship with other Christians.
But if I’m being completely honest (and hopefully you’re being honest with yourself as well), my mind is usually so distracted.
If I was late to church that morning, I’m retracing my steps that morning and thinking about where I went wrong. If I made it on time by the skin of my teeth (because let’s be honest, I’m never early), then I’m celebrating in my success and probably still breathing a little heavy.
I haven’t been to a single church in the South that didn’t have its air conditioning on full blast. So chances are, I’m sitting in church huddled in my jacket and thinking about how cold it is. I’m asking myself again and again why more people aren’t freezing and questioning if it’s really that hot standing in the pulpit.
Then after my hands and feet are numb from the cold, other sensations come to my mind. I’m hungry. I’m thinking about lunch and who’s going to join the fellowship lunch, what restaurant we’re going to go to, and if I’m going to choose something healthy or more… hearty. ?
Well, then what happens after lunch. What chores do I need to get done today before work tomorrow? Did I leave the coffee pot on?
I’ll spare you the rest of my ramblings. But in between all of these thoughts running through my head, I’ll pause momentarily to write down a point that the pastor makes. I’ll read the scripture again, and I’ll pray for God to please help me focus.
Listening for God’s Voice at Home
Sitting on my back patio alone, “doing church” is an entirely different story. I’m not trying to catch my breath after dashing down the steps into the main sanctuary. I’m not adjusting my skirt or making sure my hair is still in place. Instead of shivering, I’m enjoying the sunlight. And while every once in a while, I duck my head because I hear an insect buzzing a bit too close to my head, the patio is free of distractions. I’m not thinking about lunch because I just had breakfast, and if I’m still hungry, I can munch on a snack. The coffee pot has been turned off, and even if it is on, I’ll catch the fire before it gets too out of control.
God has my captive attention. I am hungry for His Word, and my spirit is listening for God’s voice at home. Without any of the usual distractions, I feel like I can hear God like never before. I feel as if every point the pastor makes is a direct line from God into my heart.
A couple of weeks ago, the pastor said jokingly that he’s not sure if people will even want to come back to church when they do open the doors.
I think it’s too early to say.
But I do know that God is using this time away from church to speak to me in incredible ways. My spirit is stirring, and I wait eagerly to hear his voice, receive his guidance, and just spend more time with Him, in His presence.
I don’t know when I’ll be back in the church doors, but I hope that I’ll have my priorities straight, that I’ll be going for the right reason, and that I’ll remember to bring a heavier sweater.
We all know that air-conditioning is going to still be blasting. ?
Drop me a line in the comments below!
How has church been different for you while you’ve been having it in your home? Are you as distracted as I am normally on Sunday morning or do you have some tips to share?
God has been teaching me a lot during the coronavirus pandemic and self-quarantining. Even though the period of quarantine is slowly coming to close, you don’t want to miss these posts!
- God has taught me how to use faith as an anchor for my heart in distress. (Anchor in my Heart)
- Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to move, but stay right where we are. (Spirit Lead Me to Where I Am)
- This pandemic may have surprised us, but it didn’t surprise God. (Easter Reflection: God’s Will is Sovereign )
- I loved this article about what the coronavirus can teach us. Here’s my response to the article.