Last night I asked Ana what was on her agenda for today:
“It’s Sunday! That’s my agenda.”
For Ana this means that nothing will be planned. It is her free day before the work week begins. She will sleep as long as she would like to, sip coffee, hang out with our pups, probably play her video game and read a bit. We will hang out some and chat some and cuddle some. It will flow however it needs to.
This is a perfect day for her especially since it is grey and wet and cold again outside. Yesterday we went to fetch delicious french pastry from the bakery a bit further away but definitely a treat kind of thing. The pastry was indulgent and full of butter. We laughed as we ate such indulgent things. Then we took the pups on a long walk through our neighborhood. We had to take advantage of the dry day. Still grey but at least dry. I made dinner and we hung out. I talked to the nieces and nephews like I do each Saturday.
But for the two of us, Sunday means different things. In the past years, Sunday has also meant a day of somewhat rest for me. I work for a church in Portland a few hours a week and sometimes have things I need to do but for the most part it is a day in which I can do just about anythng. Shops are closed here on Sundays and in some ways it reminds you you really do have to take it easy.
This morning though I have promised to go to church at the church I had attended quite a bit before COVID. I am meeting someone after and said I would be there to give feedback. This is the first time I have gone to church in person in some time. I went once while in Portland in August but this is the first time to return here. The numbers are higher than they have ever been here so I will keep distance, keep my mask on, and I have promised Ana I won’t dole out hugs. Then later I will have the zoom call with my family and do some church work. There is a piece of me that wishes I had said no to meeting up at and after church. There is a piece of me that wants to just stay home and watch my cactus bloom (the pics are from this morning and those flowers are brilliant!).
I have attended many services online the past 20 months but in getting ready this morning to go to church I have been reflecting about appearing in person. I am not excited to make my way to the church. I miss people but I am not eager to get back to the same ol same ol. I have been reflecting on why so many want to return to a way of church that was clearly not working for most people. I have not entirely missed working on Sunday mornings or attending and feeling as though it is work. Sundays for me are mixed emotions for sure, maybe more than most but from this position I can see why so many people don’t make their way to church. The Sunday morning church service doesn’t quite fill a need in the majority of our world. Perhaps we should pay attention to this rather than scrapping our way back to it?
And perhaps when someone does reenter or enter our churchy doors, we need to make sure to open a welcome rather than a judgement about why they haven’t been there. I am just praying that when I arrive I don’t hear, “Oh there you are! We haven’t seen you in forever!” or “Oh, you must be working today otherwise we wouldn’t see you!” or “Welcome, are you new here?” Or the other ways we think we are being clever but isolating someone even more. I pray that I hear, “Hey Courtney!” Or “Good morning!” or something that doesn’t try to exploit my guilt in coming back. Just a friendly note to those who have been going back all along.
Sundays will continue to morph and our job as church people is to figure out how to morph with them. Are we doing that?
What will your Sunday look like?
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Sunday mornings start with a Zoom with Mom-in-law; yesterday’s wasn’t very successful (accidental mute, accidental camera turn around). I skipped church to prep to teach a class; this last week has been busy and difficult. I needed a rest!