September 25, 2021
Covid has taken a lot from us.
We have some of it back: time with others, face-to-face contact, stores without masks unless necessary, birthday parties with people, and regular school.
Some things are slowly coming back and to varying degrees: certainty, confidence, and a feeling of peace in public places.
One thing that was the hardest for me to lose in the early stages of the pandemic, back in 2020, was time with the parents at church. There was nothing weirder than going to online services, spending sunny Sunday mornings sitting in our house, enjoying our Palm Sunday Pancake Dinner via Facebook, and teaching Sunday School from home.
It was so HARD.
The community of parents at our church was growing and thriving! God was developing a very safe place where we could come together and support one another in the church of our origin. Some of us are new to Stavanger Church, but many of us have returned from having been gone since childhood. Now adults, we see each other differently. We chase each other’s kids, we hug and love on them, and we stand in awe at all of those baby GIRLS! What used to be a room of hesitant individuals is now a room full of laughing, relaxing, coffee-drinking friends!
But then, Covid.
OH, how I missed it. Them. I missed ALL of them. And I asked MANY times, “Lord, WHY is this happening now when we were just getting to know everybody!?”
There is no convenient time for a pandemic, obviously. Life has changed SO much. Our kids have grown a year older. Babies were born during the shutdown that we never got to see as newborns. We had to say goodbye to our pastor and his wife via social media, and we never got to hold the baby shower we wanted to for any of the moms that deserved one.
And in some ways, we feel like we have to start all over again.
But you know what?
We actually DON’T!
When Sunday School started this fall and everything went back to “normal” (Jesus, Bible stories, Scripture, children, teachers, moms and dads, and music), I realized something: God had created and continued to build a very important thing in our church: a community that KNOWS we need each other.
It’s easy to say at the beginning of something, “Hey, this is good!” But, after something bad, it’s even more apparent that not only was everything we had GOOD, it was absolutely necessary.
We NEED each other!! Parents NEED one another! Our families at our church need support, community, and grace. And God has not forgotten any of that.
IF, for any reason Covid needed to do its thing, I believe it was for this HUGE, beneficial reason: for all of us at Stavanger, parents and kiddos included, to know how important our church is. But, what’s even more beautiful is that we are all gaining a much better understanding of how the universal Church works. We couldn’t go to the building, but we never stopped being a part of Stavanger. At no time did anyone say that we no longer belonged. In fact, we are a very much a part of something so much bigger than what happens in our building.
We needed to remember that.
And, I know Stavanger Church wasn’t the only body to recognize this and remember it, too. For the church, Covid was one of the best things that could have happened to it. We forget so easily that church does not only exist inside four walls. JESUS is, and that’s why a pandemic cannot have the effect on the Church many of us feared it would.
Sam and Jess, we talked about this on the prairie: we MISSED being together. Sunday mornings is a time for us to come together and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It is my prayer that you and all of the other parents would know how very much you are loved. Not just by all of us at Stavanger Church, but by a God we can’t see, a God whose physical voice we can’t hear yet, and by a God who knows our hearts.
It is my prayer that you both (and Emma!) will always know that you have a place. Not only at Stavanger, but in God’s beautiful, redeemed family.
THANK YOU for being a part of something so big! I love you both!
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” | Ephesians 1:7
Location | The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center