Sunday, January 10, 2021

COVID has reminded me of the comfort of routine

Since 1989, most Sunday mornings have been pretty much the same for me and Terry: We attend church and Sunday School.

Unless one or both of us happen to be traveling, there simply is no NOT going to church. In addition to all of the spiritual/emotional/mental benefits of attending, there is also the fact that our little congregation is getting even littler over time, so we hold down a few of the jobs that keep the group going.

Terry, for example, is the Sunday School treasurer, while my daughter Elissa is Sunday School secretary. I'm a deacon and a trustee, and I provide the exhortation 4-5 times a year.

There is nothing special in this as we have many people who are just as involved, and in many cases much more so. It's what you do in a small church.

What I've come to realize since last March when the coronavirus changed everything is that, for many years, I took for granted the comfort of our carbon copy Sunday mornings.

Because it's all necessarily different now, right? We're back to offering in-person services, but many (half or more?) of the congregation instead tune in online via livestream. And when you're there in person, you have to wear a mask the whole time of course.

There's also the fact that our congregational singing is somewhat curtailed, or at least the volume of it is. And whereas I used to play along with the hymns on my wind synthesizer, I can't do that nowadays because it's an instrument you blow into, and creating a stream of air necessarily means also creating and releasing a stream of potentially infectious respiratory droplets. I get it, so I don't play.

Our Sunday School closing period used to be a lot longer in that we would go around the room and mention the names of people who could use prayers and/or who had some good news that deserved thankfulness and praise. We still do that, but it's all gathered and distributed electronically now, rather than verbally.

The fact is, we're doing what I would say is a very good job under the circumstances, but it's still not the same. I had no idea I would ever miss that "same" until it was gone. Like everything good in our lives, I suppose.

There is a fine line between being in a rut and taking comfort in routine. I'm looking forward to putting COVID-19 in the rearview mirror so I can experience the difference again.

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