It might be time to consider returning to in-person worship
Updated: Feb 10
God takes difficult challenges and uses them for good. Even COVID. St. Matthew's has been able to connect with more people across the country (and world) through our online Sunday worship services and weekday Compline. It is amazing how God has helped us to live out our mission To Know and Share God's Love through online worship opportunities.
Worshiping online is definitely here to stay, and we are blessed to have the capabilities to continue to offer it for those across the country or who are physically unable to come in-person.
For those who are able, here are a few reasons why you may consider it time to return to in-person worship:
Church Allows Us to Feel Reverence
In the chaos of every day, do you ever long for peace, quiet and reverence? When we attend church in-person, we’re transported to a place of worship and peace. It offers a place of calm and focus to pray. It allows us to feel at peace and gives us respite from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
". . . People need physical touch and interaction. We need to connect with other human beings through our bodies, through the ordinary vulnerability of looking into their eyes, hearing their voice, sharing their space, their smells, their presence.
Whether or not one attends religious services, people need embodied community. We find it in book clubs or having friends over for dinner. But embodiment is a particularly important part of Christian spirituality and theology. We believe God became flesh, lived in a human body and remains mysteriously in a human body. Our worship is centered not on simply thinking about certain ideas, but on eating and drinking bread and wine during communion.
“Christians need to hear the babies crying in church. They need to see the reddened eyes of a friend across the aisle,” Collin Hansen wrote in his Times essay about online church. “They need to chat with the recovering drug addict who shows up early but still sits in the back row. They need to taste the bread and wine. They need to feel the choir crescendo toward the assurance of hope in what our senses can’t yet perceive.”
These are not mere accessories to a certain kind of worship experience. These moments form and shape who we are and what we believe." - Tish Harrison Warren, New York Times
Online worship is great for adults, and enables us to participate sometimes at our convenience, but kids have a far harder time learning about Jesus online than in-person. The connections they make with hands-on activities, with their peers and teachers is impossible to replicate virtually. Plus, it's fun!
We all have enjoyed the relaxed Sunday morning, watching church in our pajamas and enjoying that second cup of coffee while listening to the sermon. It's easy and comfortable, for those of us who aren't lonely. Consider the many other people we know and love and do life with that may really count on that Human Connection on a Sunday morning, and enjoy that second cup of coffee while chatting in the Parish Hall after worship.
The stressed-out Mom who catches another parent out of the corner of their eye crying during service and creating an opportunity to connect in a way that is life-giving and godly. Those tears would go unnoticed if worshiping online and not together in community.
If you are ready to come back to church in person, please join us this Sunday, Feb. 13, 2021 during Coffee Hour for some Valentine's donuts and photo ops!
If you aren't ready yet, then join us online. Say hello in the comments or tag us in a service selfie on Instagram @stmttssterling