What It's Like Coming Back
Like most days, the kids woke up first. I heard them giggling and playing down the hall way. I sat up in bed. I hadn’t slept great, but I was already fighting the fogginess with anticipation that I’d be going to a gathering for the first time in eight months.
I got dressed, packed my “work bag”, scarfed down a quick bite for breakfast, chased the kids out the door, and took a deep breath as we backed down the driveway. We were behind schedule. But it all felt normal.
If I’m honest, I have settled in to the COVID way of life, even while knowing that online gatherings and socially distanced interaction doesn’t compare to the “real thing". We’ve known this would all be temporary, but no one could know have known how long temporary would last.
Walking in to the lobby, I could immediately pick out the staff and volunteers that were hosting and ushering people to their seats. Reading people’s expressions in their eyes, there was a sweetness to the refrain of “welcome back” and “woah, it’s been a long time”.
We watched the sermon. We raised our hands during the songs. We took communion as a family. We caught up with other families after the service ended. Our kids ate doughnuts and laughed and played.
It felt like church.
Not because I was at an address. Not because a certain number of people filled a space. But because we got to be with the other parts of the body.
On the drive home, my wife commented, “I don’t think I realized how much I missed that”. This sums it up perfectly. It was like something inside me had been partially asleep and was finally waking up from hibernation.
I’m thankful for that awakening, as well as the work our team has put into making the watch parties possible. God’s people together to hear the good news, sing the good news, and pray the good news is one of the best things we have in this world. It’s why I love the church gathered and have given almost 20 years of my life to building, shaping, and leading it.
I also appreciate our church's heart to protect the vulnerable, consider our witness, and lay down the things we are entitled to because, frankly, that looks and sounds like the Jesus I read in the Bible.
I hope others at Doxa, as they feel comfortable, will join us on Sundays for the watch parties. There is something special, despite the restrictions and temporary changes, that remains intact. And whatever you want to call it, it’s good for the soul.
I’ve heard a thousand times the saying that you don’t know how much you miss something until its gone, but it turns out having it back is a good reminder too.