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Empty Pews, Hopeful Hearts

March 16, 2020

Good morning! It’s Monday, March 16. And this is, what? Dispatches From a Suburban Parson During a PandemicCorona-votions with Pastor Lyle? Better not to give a name to this new, little corner of my blog. The fact of the matter is that we are not going to be seeing each other for a while, and that hurts my heart.

Yesterday was the first Sunday that we gathered for worship virtually instead of physically. “Virtually.” What an odd word. One definition of “virtual” is “almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition” (and by “one definition” I mean the first one that popped up when I googled “virtual”). In other words, not real.

But that’s not quite right. To be sure, when I took my place in the chancel yesterday, it was downright weird to see no one looking back at me. And then we had technical difficulties. But once we got going again, I can assure you that it was really worship. Perhaps because I wasn’t here alone, but with six other faithful souls making sure worship could happen. Perhaps it was because of Makayla Dahleen’s powerful sermon. Perhaps it was because I could see you all in the pews in my mind’s eye; heck, in my imagination the pews were even more full than they usually are!

But most of all, the worship was real because God in Christ was really there. In Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. In Paul’s bold proclamation that hope does not disappoint. In the assurance that God is so desperately in love with us that the Spirit insists on entering in.

I don’t know what the coming weeks will bring. None of us do. Keep your eyes open for official announcements about life at Grace. And keep your hearts open to one another. Call your friends. Check in on your neighbors. Be the Church, because the Church doesn’t get cancelled.

And keep coming back here. I plan on writing something every day. Because I miss you, and I want to be in touch with you. And because God loves you, and we cannot be reminded of this promise too often.

In one of my devotionals today, the New Testament verse was Mark 13:13: “The one who endures to the end will be saved.” Well, we don’t know when this crisis will end. But we know we will endure, for we do so with the promise of Christ in our hearts.

Be well. You are loved.

From → COVID-19

  1. John Lattyak permalink

    Blessings to you Pastor Lyle. Looking forward to your daily posts durning these uncertain times.

  2. Scott Schwar permalink

    Service was very impactful with very good audio and video, especially the close ups of the windows. Pastor Costello and Doug were excellent and the camera on them made it easy to concentrate on the music. Gwen brought the scripture readings to life with her expressive readings. It was a little strange to see Pastors Lyle and Burke up front and close at a bare alter but with audible responses from the group present. Makayla’s sermon was indeed powerful, especially with her life references. I found her emphasis of the Samaritan woman leaving her water jug at the well to carry the Living Water thought provoking. Thank you Pastor for creatively serving us in these unusual times.

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