For the past six months, church buildings have been closed and people have found it hard to take. Members have been grieving for their regular, sometimes weekly, visits; not just missing their friends and the routine of worship, but the very bricks and mortar that make up the signs to the world that Christianity happens here.
Villages, towns and cities are often identifiable by buildings we call ‘Church’ – sacred spaces that in the past have acted as gathering places, locations to bury the dead, to celebrateweddings and christenings. On the grander scale they have been places of national importance where events and celebrations have taken place in the name of all the people.
To Christians they are perhaps the location to meet with God. Of course there are other places where people meet with God but the church is that special places reserved for the encounter with the Almighty.
So, Christians have missed their familiar places where they have always experienced the sacred.
Now, the people are once more able to pass through the doors, metaphorically remove their shoes, and gather together finding God in the congregation, in the specialness of ritual and in the holiness of a building reserved for the encounter with God. And so, after months of absence, Christians can gather again in the holy space, albeit in line with government guidelines. We appreciate the moment even more because of the privation.
But of course, God has never been absent; our perceptions of God changed perhaps. We are called into God’s presence only to be sent out into the world to discover Jesus working in and through the world all of us inhabit, as always.
Services restart at Redhill URC on the 20th September at 10.30.