"Not in the dark of buildings confining, Not in some heaven, light years away:
Here in this place the new light is shining; Now is the kingdom, and now is the day."
" - Verse 4 from Gather Us In
(composed by Marty Haugen)
For those of you that joined us this past Sunday for our first Drive-In Worship Service, you might remember hearing these words sung as part of our extended Prelude. You also might have been too busy chatting to fellow church members while keeping social distance and wearing your masks! But Heidi and I chose this hymn to be a part of the Prelude because of how it speaks to the current state of our worship services.
We heard and talked about "the church being closed" and have asked, "when will the church open?", but these words speak to the fact that, we never have been closed, and the Church is not confined by dark, artificially-lit buildings (no matter how wonderful our Chapel and Great Hall may be!) nor is it off in heaven on a different plane of existence. We are the Church and we are here, right now, like we've always been! Donating to Hands of Christ, sewing and donating handmade masks, worshiping together virtually. It has been different than what we once knew as normal, but it was so wonderful to be singing and worshiping God and being able to connect with people instead of a camera.
So I hope you will join us again this Sunday for another Drive-In Worship Service. Heidi and I have prepared 20 minutes of music for the Prelude - a kind of mini-musical worship service before the main service - , and we hope you'll come early to prepare your hearts for worship as the new light of the day shines on all of our faces in the West Parking Lot. This pandemic has been tough. We can't do so many of the things we once took for granted and now miss so dearly. I can't even get back home to Japan! But I hope that God will gather us all together now as we move forward, acting in love and working together, one step at a time.