Good Shepherd Lutheran Church


The Shepherd's Staff

Reflections on In-Person Worship

Posted by Ted Moeller on

We are now two weeks into worshiping again as a corporate body…sort of. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted so much of our lives that not being able to go to church is just another thing on a long list. September 20th saw us opening up, as before, for the first time in six months. Owing to the comparatively small size of our sanctuary, we were the last congregation in our circuit to do so. With all the safeguards and restrictions—masks, social distancing, lists for contact tracing—it was a bit awkward, and at times uncomfortable. But gathering with friends we haven’t seen for a while to praise the Lord, sure felt good.

   Some other reflections on this “new normal” --
  •    It is frustrating. Wearing a mask is uncomfortable. It may stop the spread of germs but it sure dampens the impact of singing. Masks also hide smiles, but I know they were there. Since we at Good Shepherd, don’t seem to do non-fellowship well (we even have a difficult time leaving in silence when the service warrants it!), that’s probably the most frustrating part of all.
  •    Worship Scheduling.  Here’s the general idea. Adhering to the State of Washington’s Phase 2, we can have a maximum of 35 gathered in our worship space. So we need to know who’s coming. Phone the office (or me!) to make a reservation. Once the 9:00 service is full, a second, identical service will be added at 11:00. The allows enough time to change out the chairs and set up for communion.
  •    Making reservations may seem to be a hassle. Phoning into the office to state your intentions to come Sunday morning seems so…premeditated! But shouldn’t that be a good thing? It’s more than just saving a seat, it’s making it a priority.
  •    A good number of our church partners are not comfortable returning to worship. That is okay—more than okay! We will continue to tape an abridged service as we have been doing, posting it Sunday morning. We’re getting quite a few views on YouTube, locally and across the country. So, even when we are able to get together without restrictions, we will likely have some form of taping of our regular service.
   In the meantime, we wait. There is so much talk about a vaccine, which prompts one more reflection. May our humble efforts to worship together serve as a vaccine—to our sense of isolation, a feeling of togetherness; to our complacency, a sacrifice of comfort; to our focus on ourselves, daring to risk; to our uncertainty, the declaration of and dedication to a Savior who promises to be with us always, to the end of the age.

   How long will this go on?  I have no idea. But I give thanks to God for your faithfulness and patience. The support the church has received financially has been great. And hearing that so many of you are helping those in need—sending cards, making meals, phoning, praying, working, building and cleaning—fills me with great joy. God is faithful. We will get through this—stronger and more resilient than ever—together.