A Love Letter to a Church When We are Worshiping Apart (Yet Together) on a Fresh Day in a New World

Last night I dreamed I was giving birth to a baby girl. It was a strange dream because it has been a long time now since we were in the stage of adding members to our little family. It was also strange because the obstetrician was an old friend from the Twin Cities who has been a full-time artist his whole career and not a deliverer of babies. The coolest part was that my mom was there. I love when she visits me in my dreams and I get to see her dear face again and hear her voice.

It has been said that our dreams always mean something. They are the way that our minds communicate with us in vivid, sometimes nonsensical-seeming ways. I used to like reading dream interpretation books but I have come to realize over time that if I stop and think, I usually can tell what my dreams are trying to say to me.

And this one isn’t hard to interpret. Something new is being born – not a baby – but a new way of being and doing things. This is true for so many of us in these times we are living in. Like having a baby, we don’t know exactly how things are going to be. The process is scary and exhilarating at the same time. A new way of life is coming about even as an old way of life dies. We can’t picture exactly what life on the other side of this birth is going to look like and yet once the birth pangs begin, we know the only way to go is forward. It’s time to go through the pain of childbirth and welcome that baby.

We are all in childbirth right now. There is pain as I look up the hill and I see our church building empty on a Sunday morning. There is shock as I realize that the season we are going through will change us in ways we can’t even begin to understand yet. There are more things unknown than known – and yet, the only way to go is forward. Forward is the way of new life, new challenges, and joy. There is no going back.

I’ve told you stories before about how when our first son was born I didn’t get to hold him right away. He was whisked off to the NICU because of some breathing issues so it wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning that they brought him to me. I held him and listened to the sounds of the city below beginning to stir. I looked at his face and thought of how scared I had been to become a mom, how the countless unknowns had kept me awake many nights – but now here he was and I looked at his perfect little nose and eyes and lips and I whispered, “you don’t look so scary.”

And as the sun dawned this morning on a day when we don’t get to be together in our church, yet we are still connected and blessed in so many ways – kindred hearts, worshipping from our own warm homes, the love of family near and far, the grace of God who made us, music, health, life, good food – I don’t feel afraid now in this time of new birth either.

I pray for you today, dear church, that even though everything feels so different these days, you also feel the warmth and peace of God surrounding you and filling you. I miss you and love you and can’t wait to see you again when the time is right. Stay safe and well.

“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, they are fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.” – Lamentations 3:22-24

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