Christ is risen! Alleluia!
This morning Becky and I attended church in person for the first time since COVID struck. It’s been more than two years. It was our first time at this church—we left our last one during the pandemic. Even having watched services from this new place many times online, it felt odd to attend in person.
The oddest thing for me, though, was that I was only attending, not leading in some way. Absent from Easter for the first time in my adult life was any music rehearsal. I didn’t show up 90 minutes early. I didn’t play music for 3 services. I came, worshipped, shook the pastor’s hand on the way out, and was back home before 9:30.
Reporting my attendance back to friends on Twitter, I asked rhetorically: is it even Easter if I haven’t rehearsed and played music at 3 services?
That question led to a more sober line of questioning. How much of my understanding of service and worship has been formed, or malformed, by a lifetime of working somehow at church every time the door was open?
Every pastor will affirm that ministry is work. I can’t help but think, though, that something is broken when I leave church thinking was it even really worship if I’m not exhausted on the way out?
Two years of church non-attendance have led me to reconsider what faithfulness in the way of Jesus looks like in daily life. Restarting attendance now prompts a new exploration: what it looks like to meaningfully participate in a church without it regularly leading to exhaustion.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. — Jesus