I usually talk about our church as a “congregation.” But what is a congregation that can’t congregate? What is an assembly that can’t assemble? What is a gathering that can’t gather?
I miss gathering. I miss being together. I miss singing together. I miss studying and learning together. I miss congregating. The old adage that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true, if the heart starts out fond. And my heart is growing fonder for the church in this absence of physical social interaction.
I recently posted a video on the church’s Facebook account of our congregation singing Great Is Thy Faithfulness. It sounded wonderful. It’s from February. It’s hard to believe how quickly things can change. I look forward to experiencing that again. I have great fondness for the congregation.
But there’s another fondness that my heart is actually enjoying: Solitude. Perhaps, like me, absence had made your heart grow fonder for that too? Granted, I don’t have complete solitude. I share my home with Wendy and Bekah. But this quarantine certainly isn’t the same level of social interaction that I had been living with. Have you allowed this slow down to create a healthy solitude? We can admit the need without undermining our desire to be together. I pray that you are able to rest during this solitude.
It doesn’t look like we’ll be congregating anytime soon. We plan to follow the government guidelines and re-congregate when it’s prudent. In the meantime we’re looking for how to create connection opportunities without interrupting the healthy aspects of solitude.
Pastor of Sarasota Community Church since 2009.