Yep, our parking lot is empty, our sanctuary is empty, the college campus in our back yard is quiet and empty. And it looks like this will be the new normal for a while.
This breaks my heart and I grieve with you.
Us minister types have a real fear that everyone will get used to "staying home" and maybe no one will come back.
But let me say again, this will not last forever, the community of faith isn't going anywhere, and when we gather together again there will be an Easter celebration we will never forget.
These are unprecedented times, new territory, a Lenten wilderness we have never navigated before. And yet in the midst of this we continue to discern and discover how we ARE the Church in the world and within our relationships. While being "socially distant" we are finding new ways to be "spiritual present".
So, let me do some math (a small disclaimer, my only D in college was in math)...
We have around 600 members and 270 family units at Holy Trinity, and we average around 230 people who gather for worship each Sunday between 2 services. We are now live-streaming our Sunday worship and our Wednesday Lenten service. This is something we have wanted to do for a while and this virus forced us to get in gear (literally). I am greatly encouraged by how this is extending our reach as a community of faith and allowing us to stay spiritually present with one another and with those we love. As I write this we have 77 subscribers on our YouTube channel. Most likely each subscriber has more than one person in their household, so let's double that to 154ish. Right now our "views" for last Sunday's worship is 494. Again, I imagine there were more than one set of eyes worshiping together in our households so lets multiply that by 2.5, that comes to 1,235.
1,235 "in" worship on Sunday?1?
Dare I say that word you don't say during Lent?!?
(you just did in your head didn't you?).
Ok, more math... As of right now we have 120 views for our Midweek Lenten Worship. We average around 40 to 50 people physically present at those services each year. So that's more than double attending a midweek Lenten worship experience!
So I encourage you to continue to pray, reflect and reach out during this pandemic, and let us partner in faith that God will bring a new creation out of this. Our hearts are not empty, our souls are not empty, the light of Christ is shining within our sanctuary and beyond our walls. God is still filling our lives, faith and the Church with guidance, love, mercy and grace.
Share our YouTube channel (can we get over 100 subscribers by Sunday!) and share our video's with your family, neighbors and friends who are longing with us for a day when we can get back to our normal routines and ways of life.
We are with you.
Christ is with you.
We are in this together with the crucified and risen Christ in our midst.
Easter will happen.
Easter is coming!