~ Y’all Come Back Now, Ya Hear? ~
“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates ...”
Dear Members and Friends,
Do you remember The Beverly Hillbillies, that old black-and-white sitcom about a poor family from Appalachia who struck it rich and moved to Beverly Hills? It was old even when I was a kid. The best part about getting a sick day in the 1970s was being home alone and watching the old TV shows that only aired during the daytime: I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, Bewitched, Hogan’s Heroes. Incidentally, Michelle will tell you that we don’t have a TV, but that’s not exactly accurate. We’ve got a venerable old 24-inch flat screen that’s attached to an old-fashioned antenna. We only switch it on once every four years—for presidential elections—and it picks up the three major networks…plus one station that plays nothing but those ancient shows night and day. Black and white reruns no longer hold much interest for me, but I’ll long remember the theme songs for all of them. At the end of The Beverly Hillbillies, the singer would close the show’s theme song with the memorable words: Y’all come back now, ya hear?
So…you’ve probably guessed where this is headed. It’s time to come back to church! We have yet to see what the coronavirus will do to religious faith in the United States. Strangely, it seems to have sparked a mini-revival of religion in Britain. Only 10% of Britons attended church on a weekly basis prior to the pandemic, but since COVID-19 struck, online attendance at religious services has spiked to 25% of the population—with young people leading the charge. But America’s relationship to faith is unique. Some wonder if the pandemic is hastening the already hasty unchurching of the nation. When circumstances prevent us from practicing old habits—like churchgoing—they will be quickly replaced by new habits. And so, I’ve created a list of reasons you should come back to church:
It’s safe. Our COVID-19 safeguards are thorough and cautious.
It’s good for your spiritual health. Watching church on our TVs and computer screens was good, but there’s a special energy about corporate worship—with hearts and voices united. Being back inside the church building alone is a joy.
It’s good for your emotional health. You miss us, and we miss you! Returning to some degree of social normalcy will help to break you out of the pandemic funk.
It’s kid-friendly. Beginning on May 9, “summer Sunday school” will take place outside during the worship service for kids from preschool through middle school.
It’s where you belong.
What am I leaving out? I’m sure you could add reasons of your own to the list. I suppose I ought to close this note by saying, “Y’all come back now, ya hear?” But now that the moment is upon me, it just seems too corny. In any case, we hope to see you soon. In the meantime, keep in touch.
In Christ’s Peace,
P.S: WE NEED ELDERS, DEACONS, GREETERS, AND LECTORS! Most urgently, we need previously ordained elders to go back on session. Please contact me as soon as possible if you would be willing to make yourself available for any of these jobs!