Regathering after being apart

As our congregation begins regathering after a long season of being apart, I am really looking forward to the first in-person worship this coming Sunday. It will still not be like it used to be for some time. We continue to deal with the necessary safety issues of being inside together with physical distancing, wearing masks, and meditating on the hymns rather than signing them boldly. But it’s a beginning, a significant step forward, and a welcome sign pointing to a post-pandemic future.

I am mindful of how much I have missed being with so many members of our congregation. To be sure, over the last year my pastoral colleagues and I have had many in-person moments for pastoral and other reasons, but we have longed for filling the Sanctuary again and being united together in prayer and praise.

We also are mindful that in returning to church we will be, and should be, open to change. Some of what may be different is beautifully articulated by Laura Kelley Fanucci in her poem entitled simply,

When this is over,
may we never again
take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theatre
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itseIf.

When this ends,
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way ‑ better
for each other
because of the worst.

May we who make up the Body of Christ at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church meet our moments of regathering by pondering what kind of Christian people we wanted to be, were called to be, hoped to be. Because we now know what it’s like not to be together, I pray our sense of community is more precious than ever.

I look forward to seeing a number of you on Sunday, and all of you eventually as a brighter future unfolds.