Y’all Come Back Now, Y’hear?

The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.

Ezra 6:16

Y’all come back now, Y’hear?

To church, I mean. Yes, the building!

As soon as you’ve got your shots. Or as soon as it feels safe. As soon as masks are officially out of style, and social distance is only as far as your “personal bubble” wants it to be. That may not be this Sunday, but soon, alright?

I know some of it’s been fun. Watching church on TV in your jammies. Sleeping in a bit. Okay, “fun” may be too strong a word, but now it’s time to worship in the flesh again. Heck, the pews have been missing your butts!

Worshiping online? It’ll still be a thing. We figured out how to do it, so why would we stop? We’ve got people all over the country tuning in and praising God. Yes indeed, online worship is now part of the equation.

Just not for you. Not if you’re nearby, healthy, and have a car. There’s an intimacy to worshiping together that we’ve all been missing. Okay, maybe you didn’t miss Doris, who sings a little sharp in the choir, or Mr. Topher, who gives too many hugs. You maybe haven’t even missed those sermons that have a good point but seem to last a bit too long.

Or maybe you have missed those things. Church, warts and all, is still where it’s at, my friend. When the Body of Christ can actually shake hands, and sing harmony, and pray the Lord’s Prayer together, that’s a special thing, not to be missed.

Now, let me say a couple things that might make you feel a little wiggly. First, we might just lose a few attenders because of this ordeal. Some folks may have felt like jailbirds, not having to show up for church anymore. Maybe they’ve officially flown the coop. I sure hope they come to their senses and realize we’re all about freedom in Christ here, or at least we try to be. If some folks slip away, well, that’s a crying shame, but not the end of Christendom!

The second, even more painful thing I need to share is that most of our churches weren’t doing perfect even before Covid. Attendance has been going down pretty much everywhere in the U.S.. Sunday mornings haven’t generated the kind of critical mass we all wish they did. Christianity hasn’t been as…sticky as it used to be. This pandemic has only hurried along a troubling trend. Still…

Y’all come back now, Y’hear?

Not just you faithful facebookers. Not just you out-of-the-habit hibernators. Y’all. You ALL. Come back! The church needs to put on its A game, because people are gonna need us. For fellowship, for guidance, for help with basic needs. Folks are gonna be looking for inspiration, depth and meaning, a place that is safe from all the rhetoric and spam clogging up our feeds.

We’ve got work to do. Contagious excitement to spread. We’ve got sheep to feed! We’ve got a whole world to embrace with love that is accepting and transforming. You and I and the folks in our towns need hope that surpasses any crisis we’ve been through this past year.

Come to church. When you can. When you’re ready. But come. This is an opportunity for us to be the church we’ve sometimes failed to be. Let’s try to be excellent with our music, our preaching, our nursery, etc. But most of all, let’s try to BE. Let’s BE in the presence of God and each other, and let the Holy Spirit do its thing.

Y’all come back now, Y’hear?

As soon as you’re ready.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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