“Reopening” is the term most often used as the shut down and stay at home orders are rescinding. But I hesitate to use that term for our mission post as a church. We did not close down! We did, however, follow the guidelines and orders of our elected officials and the medical advice of our county. So there was a break in our normal routine.
It may just be semantics, but rather than reopening, what we are attempting to do is move in the direction of “resuming” the full practice and expression of our congregation life and worship.
Another term being used is “returning to normal”, or if that is not possible, we are speaking of the “new normal”. Unfortunately, it is quite uncertain as to when we can actually go about our lives without any threat of the COVID-19 virus. At the present that goal seems elusive, and at best, is months away. Accordingly, we need the patient endurance to move slowly, cautiously, and as safely as possible in the direction of a full and unhindered gathered community of faith.
As our Council has learned, we are all over the map on deciding just how to go about the path to resumption. There are strong sentiments on just what to allow or not permit. For example, will facemasks be mandatory or not? We reluctantly agreed to “highly recommend the wearing of facemasks without mandating their use.”
Christ’s love in us shows up in how we respect and treasure one another. In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul writes in the 14th chapter that we should avoid passing judgment on one another, even in practices that we might judge our brother to have a “weak in the faith” position. The context is forbidden foods to eat, and days of religious observance. But the principle is applicable to other differences of opinion. We are to pursue for what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding. I urge you to read the chapter. The reminder will be helpful…
Since You Asked…
Why do we stand during the reading of the Gospel Lesson?
By standing we are giving expression of special respect and adoration. In the Gospel Accounts we meet our Lord Jesus Christ in a special way. In these writings we are presented with Jesus’ Judean and Galilean ministry. We also have a record of the very words of our Lord (his teachings, parables, dialog, etc.). We hear the accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the work of our salvation.
Although the entire Bible is the Word of God, it is in the Gospels that our Lord is most directly presented to us. So you might say that Christ himself is being presented before us in the Gospel Lesson. It is therefore most appropriate that we stand at attention.