One year. It has been exactly one year.
On March 8, 2020, we held our last worship service in the “old normal” — without masks, without social distancing, without RSVPs or reduced capacity. At the time, we knew things were changing. We knew things were changing because of COVID. Yet we didn’t know how soon — how utterly! — everything would change. We didn’t know that just a week later, I’d be preaching to a camera, and you’d all be trying to figure out how to find the service on Facebook. Exactly one year ago, we held our last fully “open” worship service at Wesley Church.
Church, it has been a year. Yet in that year, our church has not been “closed.”
We’ve learned new ways to gather. We’ve taken our Bible studies, church meetings, Sunday School lessons, youth group events, and prayer gatherings to Zoom. We’ve taken virtual tours of the church’s Christmas decorations. We’ve set up social distancing in our sanctuary. We’ve written more emails, made more phone calls, and sent more text messages than we can count. We’ve bookmarked the church website, read the e-news, navigated Facebook Live, and figured out how to connect the laptop to the TV. (Along the way, we grew accustomed to worship in pajamas with coffee.)
We’ve learned new ways to serve. We’ve turned our Backpack Festival into a drive-through event. We’ve grown seedlings for our community garden in the atrium. We’ve offered our children a virtual VBS experience. We’ve transformed piles of plastic shopping bags into waterproof sleeping mats. We’ve supported local business while securing food for the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter.
We’ve learned new ways to worship. We’ve gathered for drive-in services, RSVP services, and virtual services. We’ve come together for (distanced) communion under a bright sun and lit our Christmas candles in the cold night air. We’ve repackaged our service elements — Advent wreaths, Lenten ashes, Christmas candles, communion elements, and Palm Sunday palms — for worship at home. We’ve experienced the gifts of our musical groups through video recordings and virtual ensembles.
We’ve learned new ways to be community. We’ve come together to mark our church’s anniversary, to remember our saints, to bless our animals, to bury our loved ones, to break the bread and “share” the cup. We’ve sewed masks for each other, delivered groceries to one another, and helped each other schedule vaccine appointments. We’ve checked in and reached out and stepped up to be there for one another.
Church, it has been a year… and we’re still here. Thanks in large part to your flexibility, your willingness, your commitment, and your sheer determination, we’re still here.
What’s more: God is still with us. Christ still goes before us. The Spirit still guides us. As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of COVID-tide… I’m looking forward to seeing where the Spirit leads us next.
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
- Make a gift to support our mission: https://wesleychurch.com/giving-2/
- View our recent messages: https://wesleychurch.com/sermon-message-on-video/
- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/