By Valerie Matyas
This weekend we embark on Round 2 of social distancing at home worship. I will admit, last Sunday was rough. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for Live Streaming capabilities. I am blessed to have the Word of God preached to me during a time when I cannot gather with my visible church family. But this home worship business is tough for a pastor’s wife of four kids.
As a mothering achievement, I had finally reached the coveted, highly-sought-after normalcy and expectation of “We are in God’s House, I expect you to behave” behavior for which all moms of young children aim. Being out of the building, away from the pew, it is maddeningly difficult to convince a 5-, 7-, 8-, and 10-year-old that the dining room table is now a place to be still and listen to dad. They don’t always listen to him when he’s in the house, let alone on a screen.
I wasn’t mentally prepared for the challenge.
My expectations were unrealistic. I lost my temper, I lost my patience, I lost a bit of my where-with-all. So this week, in between triage home-schooling, normal chores, meals, and video chatting with relatives, we added a bit of color to our dining room window to remind us (all 6 of us) that church is not a building, it is a people, and we are the people of God.
Using washi tape and inexpensive watercolor paint, our 10-, 8-, and 7-year-olds helped to transform a normal window into a makeshift stained glass window. It shines brightest at sunset, reminding us all that tomorrow is a new day.
And although tomorrow may be filled with unknowns, we can be certain that God’s love remains steadfast (Psalm 136:1), it is a day in which we can rejoice (Psalm 118:24), and a day filled with our Heavenly Father’s mercies awaiting new for us (Lamentations 3:23).
I long to return to my extended church family. I want to sit in our “family pew” and greet our familiar “pew neighbors.” I want to join my voice in a song with hundreds of believers. I want to be united in prayer, scripture, and the preached Word. I eagerly anticipate seeing, visiting, meeting, and laughing with them again. Lord willing, soon.
But while I wait, I can’t help but realize my longing is a tangible anticipation that echoes the yearning I have for the New Creation, the meeting of the saints triumphant, and the joys of the kingdom to come. My longing to worship in my local church is but a small taste of my longing to worship in perfect unity with my Redeemer.
So this Sunday, when we are once again attending church in our dining room, I will come prepared with a thankful heart, a pocketful full of patience, and a joy that can not be shaken.