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Is My Church Dying?

#LockdownLessons

Corporate Strategist, Relentless idealist
FB/Insta/Twitter: @PramodSimon

Is my Church dying?

The pews are empty today
Dust covers the altar
Cobwebs drape the stained glass
Silence shrouds the parish grounds
There’s no ringing of the bell
No calls to worship
No ushers waiting at the door
No band doing warmups backstage
No smell of coffee wafting through the foyer
No hearty hugs and holy kisses…

Is my Church dying?

While a silent killer runs rampant
Taking out rich and poor, black and white
Saint and sinner alike
Striking at the very nouns and verbs
That have held us together –
Handshakes, hugs,
Songs, speech, smiles
Now we hide behind masks and doors and screens
Sheltering-in-place
Each one of us holding on to life
Even as we die in collective…

Is my Church dying?

It used to be the walls that were falling apart
The crumbling facades a metaphor for
A broader decay
But no, we said, the Church is not the building
It’s the gathering of the people
Take away our cathedrals
And we have the catacombs;
Our chapels and halls
And we have the inner sanctums;
Our open assemblies
And we have our hushed homes
And the Church Underground
For two thousand years, we survive,
Thrive, stay kicking and alive…
But now, this time
Something feels different

Is my Church dying?

Splintered into ones and twos and threes
Confined to lonely couches in lonely houses
In suddenly lonely towns and counties
Where is the gathering?
The congregation?
The together?

Is my Church dying?
Where is My Church?

The Rock, but we watch it crumble
The Flock, but the sheep have scattered
The Body, but the dis-membered parts flail in desperation
The Sanctuary, but we shelter in place anywhere but
The Fortress, but we are locked down and out
The Bride, but wedding dates are postponed indefinitely
The Family, but we have disavowed each other

Is my Church dying?

But though Death rages outside the doors
Through the quietness of our solitude and anxiety
A Still Small Voice whispers, and
The Spirit still moves on the Waters
Waiting for the pronouncement of light
This is not a Death, but a Resurrection –

My Church Still Lives!
As long as two or three, yes, two or three, are gathered
Whether face-to-face, on Facebook Live, or FaceTime

My Church Still Lives!
In the Spirit and Truth of production-free worship
And virtual Communion

My Church Still Lives!
At home or among the homeless
In the backrooms or the front-lines
Begging or serving on the street corners
From Times Square to the lands that Time forgot

My Church Still Lives!
No building, no pastor, no zipcode defines it
Nor fear, nor pandemic, nor mandate confines it
But the forge of the soul is where Heaven refines it

My Church Still Lives!
And Death has lost its sting.

© 2020, Simon Ninan

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