This morning I sat in our sanctuary and watched the last pre-recorded worship video I will make before we return to in-person worship next Sunday.
The sanctuary is nearly ready, with pews roped off and the communion table set for a meal celebrated without our traditional communion trays. Our building gleams with the fruit of so much volunteer labor, spread out over the year. We have our registration system in place so that 50 can attend while others watch the livestream that will replace those pre-recorded videos on our social media pages.
But am I ready?
My mind keeps returning to those pre-recorded worship services:
-57 worship videos representing 55 weeks and two special mid-week services;
-A full year of Sunday mornings, plus another month;
-2800.5 minutes of prayers, preaching, and music;
-46.68 hours of sorrow and hope crafted for and by beloved community.
Creating those videos has been a huge part of my life these last 13 months, and though I am excited to start being with our people in person, I’m also sad to see them go. They served a purpose, holding us together in faith and love when we were scared. And God used them to find people — folks in our wider community who desired a faith community but didn’t know where to start, folks who were staying home due to illness or age long before the pandemic began, people who moved away from Smithville and missed their church.
Were they perfect? Lord, no. Did they meet the needs of every single person in our community of faith? Again, no. But were they faithful? I believe they were. They were a tether, a lifeline, an encouragement reminding us again and again that we are the Church no matter where we are, and that the Table of Grace extends all the way to our kitchen tables, dining room tables, even our bedside tables.
I never wanted to be a televangelist, but I’m so very grateful that technology made it possible to worship with our people for every one of those 2,800.5 minutes.
So, am I ready for what comes next?
No. Not yet.
But I will be. Sunday’s coming.