Tag Archives: church

The shut-down

What a year for church and COVID-19. When COVID shut-down first happened in March, our church did shut down.

We watched the Easter Service on our patio. I discovered that it is too difficult for me to sing along with a live-stream. Emotionally, I *need* to hear the voices of the saints around me and watching on TV is too much like the performance-based concert method of "worship".

-By the way, what Phil and I are calling the "COVID series" of sermons (March shut down) were some of the best sermons that I've heard *EVER* If I have readers, use the contact form and I'll send you the link.-

Our elders took the decision, shortly after Easter, that we would follow Biblical instructions and begin meeting in person. We typically have Sunday School, a main service, lunch together and then a second (afternoon) service and all are different.

The elders wanted to stay as close to the State mandates as they could, while still obeying God. There would be no Sunday School, no lunch, and no afternoon service. We would have two identical services, one is the Sunday School time slot and one in the regular time slot. The congregation was divided in half by alphabet and assigned to a service and the rows of seats were either pink or yellow. One service sat in yellow rows, the other in pink rows. Mask were a matter of conscience.

The opening

A couple of months ago, it was announced that we were going back to the regular schedule and so we did. It was good.

Then, this latest "surge" - we noticed it in the prayer requests, and kept pace with the general public. Near the beginning of November, Phil and I decided that due to travel and visitors here, that we should stay at home until this all sorted itself out. Dismay is a good word for our feelings as we watched the daily numbers.

The elders, in wisdom, put a hold on the afternoon service and lunch - and the congregation sits in every-other row.

The "us"

Spiritually, we need the body of believers. We need to join together in worshiping God. To that end, we are wavering on the "stay at home" - at least for church. I'm not going to the gym, classes, studies.

We may wear masks (although that won't protect us). COVID doesn't have an expiration date and our spiritual lives are more important that our physical lives. Eternity over the temporal.

I want to go to church. Is it fear or wisdom that would keep me away? What emotion would keep me from wearing a mask?

As I transition churches, preparing for my move, I want to take the time to say what New City Church is doing right.

1) it's not about the style, it's about the substance. There are old hymns that are not good, there is new music that is wonderful. Both old and new, take the good, leave the bad.

2) what is good - songs that point to Jesus. Those that point us upward, not to within ourselves.

3) (from "Worship by the Book") What is the most important instrument of worship? The congregation. What is right, is making the congregation the most important instrument of worship. That means not disrupting worship with the band, not drowning out the congregation with the band.

4) A vital skill to have is knowing the difference between performance music and corporate worship music. There's a place for performance music; but it's not necessarily corporate worship music.

Corporate worship music is not performance music where the audience sings along.

I have been blessed by my time at New City. They've got it together, in a lot of ways.

Amanda and I went to a little church today (very little, there was a total of 15 people).

The pastor talked about pride and humility.  One point I remember is that our pride will be dealt with.  Outside the family of God, it will be dealt with by the Righteous Judge.  Inside the family of God, it will be dealt with by the Loving Father.

"...Wait till your father gets home..."