This weekend, one year ago, was the last normal weekend we would see for quite some time – but we didn’t know it. At least I didn’t know it. Yes, we were hearing about Covid-19 and it all sounded rather threatening, but not near. This is the time when we were still asking each other, “Do you know anyone who has had COVID-19?” Nobody asks that any more.
It’s about this time, one year ago, that I remember going into the grocery store and seeing someone in a mask. It was an elderly man. And he was giving me that look. I’m glad I couldn’t see his frown, but his eyes told the story. Talk of masks also seemed distant at the time. That’s the last time I went into the grocery – or any other store – without a mask.
A year ago this weekend, I don’t remember any conversation about whether or not the church should meet. Maybe it’s lost in all the details of what’s happened since then, but I don’t remember it. I do remember that it wasn’t until Saturday night (March 14) that we cancelled services (March 15). Daniel Kirkendall and I went up to the church building and set up a GoPro camera and presented a message together that we posted onto Facebook and his YouTube channel. We’ve come a long way after a year of posting sermons and Bible classes on Sunday and Wednesday for a year. Daniel did a deep dive to help us with the technological issues and processes. I’m thankful for our partnership during this time. But we had no idea we would be doing this one year later. Our church meets together now, maintaining social distancing, and we’re grateful for that. And a weekly Sunday service and Wednesday Bible study can be found on our FACEBOOK page and YOUTUBE channel!
One year ago there were so many things that we took for granted.
- Going to worship with the church family.
- Eating breakfast together before worship.
- Third Wednesday Fellowship meals
- Bible classes in classrooms
- Eating carelessly in restaurants
- Traveling without wondering what restrictions are in place
One year ago there were several brothers and sisters who gathered with us, who are no longer with us. Some passed away from COVID, others from other causes. The end of 2020 and first months of 2021 have brought heartbreaking losses to our church family.
Our lives changed dramatically in so many ways. Churches have scrambled to try to remain connected – and some smaller churches have struggled to stay alive. As vaccinations proliferate and many have recovered from COVID, it seems we are emerging from the cloud in which we’ve been living. COVID has brought out the best and worst of us. There have been so many changes over this past year.
But God has never changed. He never looked away or quarantined himself away from us. His eternal love has given us strength to make it through this year and will continue.
Just as it’s true that one year ago I had no idea how drastically life was going to change, I do not know what the future holds. I don’t know when I’ll go into a store without a mask or try to keep 6 feet between me and other customers. I don’t know when I’ll shake hands and not look around for a hand sanitizer. I don’t know when I’ll eat in a restaurant and not think about the air filtration system and who is sitting nearby who may have COVID. I know a lot of people just ignore those things and do what they want. I observe them out of love for neighbor, family, and church. And self – not going to lie.
I don’t do any of those things perfectly and I don’t know anyone who does. My mantra for the past year has been to ‘do what you can, but at least do that‘.
However our lives have changed since one year ago, I hope you are coping well. I hope you are staying healthy. I hope we really do get to a place where this all seems part of our distant past.
A year ago this weekend, we just didn’t know.