- Henry Prater
Getting Together Safely
Good afternoon Edgemont Family! Thank all of you who have responded to the survey and provided feedback for our leadership team as we try to navigate reopening. Many of you have asked some great questions and I wanted to take some space to respond to those. First, why are we considering coming back with a modified service? This is a great question. As we have looked at the survey data, we see the differences in how all of us feel. We have many who are ready to come back as soon as we are open, many who are going to wait until the pandemic is over, and still others who are not sure. Coming back with a vespers type service can allow us to provide an in-person, in-building experience, while at the same time acknowledging that the pandemic is not over yet. This is a critical thing to remember: we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is still much care needed, especially as we make the transition back into our building. Why no singing or preaching when we initially come back has been a question that has been raised the most. I wanted to spend a little time on why that is the case. One of the main ways that the coronavirus spreads is through our breath, through tiny air droplets that are released through the air when we exhale. We’ve all become familiar with the 6ft social distance rule, which is the general recommended distance to help mitigate the spread during normal interaction. Unfortunately, singing and preaching are not normal interactions. Both of these activities, even when using a microphone, require more effort and therefore can spread air droplets at a much farther distance, anywhere from 12-30 feet. As we are beginning in person, in building again, I believe it is prudent that we forgo these activities and utilize other forms of worship. What are some of these activities? We will have the opportunity to read scripture together and meditate. We will be able to hear instrumental music and allow God’s Spirit to speak to our heads and our hearts. We will be able to pray together, interceding for one another, our community, and our world. All of these have been used in worship for generations; for this season of our church we will allow these to be a focal point that allow us to worship while also exercising care for one another. As Paul encouraged in Philippians 2:1-4,
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
As we prepare to come back, we are preparing in a way that keeps the utmost concern for one another. That means we have to do things differently for a time. I know that we are all tired, we are ready for this to be over, we are ready to be able to do simple things without restriction; but we cannot allow weariness to overcome our care for others. We will get through this; let us allow God’s love to be our guiding thoughts as we prepare to get back together safely.