Building the sanctuary of Zion Church began in 1864. It continues to be a beautiful place to worship. Many of us find it eases us into a worshipful attitude as soon as we step inside. Those soaring ceilings and sturdy trusses, the painted escutcheons on ceiling panels, the stained glass showering us with light of every color make an excellent place to contemplate the awesome love of God and to get ourselves into worship mode.
The interior has changed multiple times over the years. At one point, the floor was even raised to make the lower level more usable. The chancel and the organ have seen several designs. Beginning soon after Memorial Day, construction will begin on another renovation of the chancel area and a major renovation/ upgrade of the pipe organ.
But we all know that the building, beautiful as it is, is not “The Church.” We are the church. The Church exists in the life and spirit of its people. And in times like these, when we are prevented from congregating in this beautiful building, we are no less the Church. Almost everything we do as Church is continuing, because being Church is not dependent on gathering in this space at some designated hour.
You are continuing to be Church, even while you are keeping yourselves isolated, protecting yourselves and the larger community and doing your part to break the spread of the epidemic. You are reaching out through virtual means: texting, calling, emailing, using social media to care for one another, to share burdens and joys with others, to tell the story of God’s steadfast love that never fails; not on the cross, and certainly not in the face of a viral pandemic.
You are continuing to be the Church during these most unusual times. You are using the enforced solitude to pray more, study more, think more about how to live a life that “Becomes the Gospel.” (If you have heard me talk about baptism, you know I use that word “become” in both its meanings: 1) a status you grow into, and 2) a condition attractive to others).
Some of us are getting itchy to resume meeting together; we are eager to “get back to normal.” Now is the time when it is most important that we remain patient. Coming back together too soon will re-ignite the pandemic. There have been instances in history when the second wave of the epidemic was more deadly than the first wave. If not for ourselves, we keep our patience for the sake of our more fragile friends and neighbors. It won’t always be this way. And just to keep in mind, “Normal” is really only a setting on the dryer.
It will not always be this way. There will come a time when it is once again appropriate to resume meeting together, to share a hug, to sit together in one space as we worship God together. That day will come; not soon enough for some of us, but it will be here in time.
Until then, we continue to Be the Body of Christ in the world we inhabit. We find ways to connect with others, we exploit the enforced isolation for the purpose of strengthening our connection with the Divine, and we keep on praying for and supporting the community called Zion Church; who love us and whom we love as visual reflections of God’s unending love and grace.
If you need something from the Church office, please reach out. Call, email, text, or find us on social media. How can we help? What creative new idea have you had that will improve our ways of Being Church?
Grace and peace,