The President today (Friday, May 22) announced that worship is essential. That’s not actually news; worship has been essential since Creation. Worship was the driving reason God led his people out of bondage in Egypt. The Westminster Catechism declares that worship is the chief end of mankind. Worship did not cease to be essential when governors across the U.S. ordered public gatherings—religious and otherwise—to stop. And worship did not stop with those orders; it just moved (on Sunday mornings, at least) from church buildings into homes. Right where it belongs.
On the heels of the President’s declaration, Governor Newsom also announced that he will release plans on Monday to allow houses of worship to reopen in California. But the church didn’t close any more than worship stopped. Christians may not have been in the same physical place at the same time, but we gathered through the wonders of technology … many at the same time, and more at various other times. In that sense, our church has opened and our essential worship expanded beyond the confines of time and space. We have been joined in worship these past weeks by people from Florida to Alaska; from New York City to San Diego. We have (if I remember correctly) reached people in India, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia.
So if worship is essential and the government is preparing to allow churches to gather again, what does that mean for The Journey?
We are not going to rush to regather. Our community is predominantly made up of high risk individuals—if only because of age—and their safety is a priority as we move forward.
When we do resume gathering, it won’t look quite the same as it has in the past: we will be more spread out, will avoid physical contact, and need to consider the increased risk of activities like congregational singing. Some will choose to wear face masks. We will have touchless hand sanitizer stations and will use additional exit doors.
Greeters will operate differently We won’t have printed programs right away, and won’t pass offering baskets or communion trays. We’ll remove the Bibles from the chairs and pass them out only as needed.
Some will continue to worship at home and participate online for a time, and that’s just fine. We will continue to live stream each week and will continue to make online content and virtual gatherings a priority.
Now we want to hear from you. This week we sent out a survey to solicit your input about regathering, and we encourage each person to complete that survey as soon as possible. (Hard copies were mailed to some, and can be downloaded and printed from our website at welcometothejourney.org.) If you are a regular part of The Journey Church—even if you have only become regular over these past few weeks—please take a few minutes to complete that survey.
We serve a good God who knows all that is happening, isn’t surprised by anything, and is pleased as we continue to worship him, love him, and love our neighbors in practical ways.
I look forward to seeing you online on Sunday morning!