This past Monday evening in his virtual Town Meeting held at the Lincoln Memorial, President Trump said, “We have to get our people back to church.” “It’s wonderful to watch people over a laptop, but it’s not like being at a church,” President Trump says. “And we have to get our people back to churches, and we’re going to start doing it soon.” Faith and prayer have helped many Americans during this tough time.
Are we ready to “go back to church” (sacred space)? Most of us would say a resounding, “YES”! As we look forward to this exciting venture, what concerns should be given consideration as we make plans to return to our sacred spaces?
1. There will be those who will be more reticent than others to return to the building and be closer to people. Some are fearful or scared; some are apprehensive; and some are ready and don’t understand why others are not.
We have been isolated for 50 days and during this time we have been fed a steady diet of “we have to stay 6 feet from another person,” “10 or under in a group,” and “don’t go out unless you absolutely have to.”
When we haven’t seen someone for an extended period of time, we tend to run to them and give them a big hug or at least a strong hand shake. Some people are not ready for either.
2. The sacred spaces have also been vacant. Perhaps a deep cleaning is in order and plans to keep it clean and safe as your people return. Maybe a spiritual cleaning is also necessary.
3. How are your people doing? Are they well physically? Are they in a healthy place spiritually? Do they need to be debriefed?
4. Make sure to take inventory of what we have learned by not being in our sacred spaces. What adjustments are we making going forward?
5. Involve and challenge the church leadership and congregation to pray for God’s leading as to the time table of returning to our sacred space and to make the necessary preparations for this return.
As the leader, the pastor casts vision. For the vision to become a reality, it requires planning and agreement. This trial stopped everything quickly, but the recovery maybe slow as it gains momentum.
In I Kings 19:1-19a Elijah fled into the wilderness, was sustained by God for more than 40 days, and lodged in a cave. God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Elijah’s response was that he had been faithful to the Lord, he was scared and that he belonged there. God told him to go to the entrance of the cave. So, Elijah wrapped up his face and went to the entrance of the cave. God asked him again, “what he was doing here?” Elijah gave him the same excuse. God told him he had more work for him to do so he left the cave to do it.
Is it time to leave the cave and begin to work among people again doing God’s work? Let’s go to the entrance and find out!