The Church Is Still The Church
A Word From Pastor Marty,
In my early years of church life and ministry, there seemed to be an unspoken principle that went something like this: “If you go to church on Sunday morning, you love your church. If you go to church on Sunday night, you love your pastor. But if you go to church on Wednesday night, you love Jesus.” This maxim, guilt-heaping aside, seemed to reinforce the idea that church only happened when people crossed the threshold of their chosen meeting place. I think it may have taken a pandemic to finally challenge the last holdouts to this turn of phrase.
This has become quite apparent to me as I look at the past year in Sooke. In spite of not being able to meet regularly, as has been the pre-pandemic pattern, the church is still the church, thankfully.
As with Langley, we have had to be innovative in finding ways to connect. Our weekly prayer group has continued throughout the pandemic pause, either through Zoom or safely distanced meetings. Also, through the summer, we were able to hold several parking lot services, which was a delight. It was a great reminder of how nice it is to meet and encourage each other through song and in sharing the Word (as well as a few snacks here and there).
This fall our ladies began a regular gathering to work through a study and time of sharing. This monthly meeting will be the first time they have been able to connect for a long time.
This evening at 6 PM, we will be opening up our small building to our first church-wide indoor gathering since this season began. Because of our small facilities, it has taken a bit of ingenuity to reorient our seating just so we can safely squeeze in those who register. We are anticipating a fresh breath of the Spirit, along with the beautiful circulating ocean air as we worship together in this way.
Aside from all of this - and coming back to my original thought at the top of this writing - it is clear that as much as we want to connect ‘church’ with a physical meeting place, in doing so we diminish its breadth. In Sooke, I am frequently reminded of how church is going on all the time, from the calls, visits and texts to encourage within our group, to those that are out in the community reflecting Jesus to a world that is looking for meaning in all of this. These are tender times, and the church continues to be that light on a hill whether we meet on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings or Wednesday nights.
Pastor Marty Mittelstaedt