When We Worship In Person Together Again

When you hear that phrase, what does it bring to mind or put on your heart? What hymn or music are you thinking of? What else are you thinking of? And don’t say hugging during the Passing of the Peace or sitting together over coffee and nibbles (or at least don’t expect those too soon) because resuming those sorts of things may be awhile.
I am enjoying thinking about what it will be like when we get together again, in person, for worship. We don’t as yet (as I write this) have a set date for a first in-person service and we know that whatever our plans are they will be complicated by necessary upcoming roof work to the sanctuary. But all of that said, the Worship Committee has begun planning and I am in close contact with other clergy and churches in Pleasant Hill and in our United Church of Christ Bay Area Conference. I hope that before long our Worship Committee, Council, Trustees, and whole Congregation will be moving, safely and confidently, to in person worship. Stay tuned for announcements via email, website, Facebook, Instagram, etc. 
Whatever it is and whenever it is that we come together again for in-person worship, I and we know that it will be different. Let me repeat that—it will be different, and may remain different for some time.  And I and we also know it will be the same God and the same love and care and joy and good news that we share. And I know that we will be maintaining our online presence for those who will continue to count on it.
One of my favorite hymns is in our New Century Hymnal, number #67: “Let Me Enter God’s Own Dwelling.” The first verse ends:  “Joy, my heart, in this dear place: here I see God face to face.”  That hymn, and that line, have been with me and held me for the past thirteen months as I’ve seen so many of your faces in our Sunday morning Fellowship time, in our Wednesday evening discussions on Race and Faith, and in our Adult Ed and Committee and planning meetings.
We hold each other as God holds us.
I am looking forward to our re-opening of in person worship. I also will be calling some of you directly, and invite you to call me, as I begin to move toward more in person visits. I will still be cautious, and I’d invite you to be as well.  What a joy it will be—for a visit and in worship—to see more of you face to face! 
Continued Blessings (!),
Rev. Dr. Fred Weidmann, Senior Minister