Alone, Chronic illness, Community, Covid-19, Isolation, Loneliness, Worship

What Church Feels Like

My Church ~ First Baptist Church of Christ, Macon, Georgia

Such a beautiful place to worship, isn’t it? To me, this image of my church is both beautiful and mournful. This image of my church sanctuary is a picture of what my church experience feels like these days. The image of an empty church brings several words to mind—empty, quiet, lonely, dark, worshipful, silent, desolate, disconsolate.

I cannot sit in these pews right now. My doctors say it is to risky for me because of my suppressed immune system following a kidney transplant. The social risks that others are able to take are not risks that I can take. Worship ideally happens in community and I am separated from my community. Isolated.

I feel sorrow about it. I miss my friends, my Sunday School class. I miss the sound of the organ and the voices of the choir. I feel very alone and isolated, a prisoner of Covid19. Even though I am an avid Zoomer watching our worship and even teaching my Sunday School class, it is not enough for my soul.

I admit that I dwell too much on the aloneness of it all, the feeling that I walk my journey without spiritual companions. I feel a deep need to worship in a sanctuary, a soul-need for me. I sometimes feel that I am simply watching the livestream of worship, not worshipping at all. I watch many churches and sermons just to make up for it.

I even fear that when it is safe enough to be back in public spaces, I will have decided that it’s just easier to stay home. Most of all, I find myself forgetting the highest and holiest remedy for aloneness—God’s promises to be with us always—recorded in so many passages of Scripture.

Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
— Isaiah 41:10 ESV 

Thanks be to God.
If you have a few minutes, spend them quietly as you watch this comforting video.

“You Do Not Walk Alone” traditional Irish blessing
Original music by Elaine Hagenberg

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