This week we returned to church.
Correction: This week we returned to church on Sunday.
Correction #2: This week we returned as a church to worship indoors on Sunday.
My family and I had planned for it back in September: We were going back to church — any church where we could reasonably read, worship and fellowship during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had discovered ourselves locked between two extremes, those panicking and living in constant fear, and militant COVID-denying anti-maskers. Between those who believe that the government should be obeyed as God, and those who believe the only way to obey God is to defy all government authorities.
To mask or not to mask: Answering that determined who’s side you were on, your level of righteousness. It seemed like there was no place for those wanting to assemble as the body of Christ, yet peaceably obey authorities in every manner possible, and put loving one another above personal rights and freedoms.
For almost a month, we gathered outdoors, suffering with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ dealing with the same crisis the rest of the world was dealing with. But then they announced, we were meeting indoors next week. Sacramento County was now out of the strictest purple tier, which meant restrictions were lifted for many things, including gathering indoors for worship.
We were a bit nervous. But we registered immediately the following Monday, because we were not going to live in fear. We didn’t need to be reckless or defiant of authorities, but we also needed to not cower in fear over even the deadliest disease.
This Sunday, we showed up. As usual, I made sure we got there early. Masks on, we headed toward the sanctuary and they gave us instructions. We figured, if we could handle Costco safely, we could come to church safely.
As the music started, it took awhile for me to “get into it”. My wife and daughters started crying. For seven months, they had been unable to come inside a sanctuary for worship. I didn’t cry, but I was emotional. Today marked the sixth month since my dad passed away, and I realized I was carrying on what he considered of upmost importance, bringing my family to church to hear the Gospel. Providentially, this was also the last church we regularly attended as a family, before I moved out and eventually got started my own family.
Singing while wearing masks the entire time was challenging. But I was just happy to participate, and to try keeping my spittle contained and out of reach of the people in front of us.
Some of you might be thinking, “That’s dangerous! You’re not supposed to sing in church right now!” I think from a Biblical perspective, Christians may have warrant to disregard any prohibition on singing, as we are commanded repeatedly to sing praises to our God. In 2 Chronicles 26, the priests stopped King Uzziah from offering incorrect worship to God. From my perspective, to deny singing in the assembly of the church would be to offer incorrect or inappropriate worship to God.
Now that’s my perspective, and I could be wrong. Some Christians may think, “No, we can sing to God in our homes, in the car, etc.” They may be right. For now, I’m not 100% sure.
I thanked an usher for all that he was doing. Thank you.