The Morning I Awoke to Return to Church

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Photo by Akira Hojo on Unsplash

March 2020 the church doors closed.

The worldwide pandemic wreaked havoc on church services across the globe as we were forced to look into virtual options for our spiritual feeding.

My church, Causeway Christian Assembly, didn’t miss a beat.

Pastor Tracy rose to the challenge and offered a modified service via Zoom. In these “living room sessions” we were able to continue to worship, pray and hear from God’s Word.

In April 2020, my church even offered a joint service with four other area churches where we could “join live” on the website. Although we couldn’t gather in the building, we still were able to partake in communion with our own kitchen juice and crackers.

Summer 2020 permitted people to gather outside in groups of five, and so my church organized backyard prayer groups.

Although the church was allowed to meet again in person in September 2020 it wasn’t long before the province went into lockdown once again and we went back to virtual services.

I don’t recall when that lockdown ended and the church doors opened once again. It may have been January 2021 but I didn’t care. I had no desire to return to church.

As an introvert, I actually preferred the virtual church to the “real” thing. I could sleep in on Sundays, watch the services while in my pajamas, and wash dishes during the sermon.

But then it got to the place where I even stopped watching the service.

Sundays became like every other day of the week.

It’d been so long since I was in a church or participated in a church service online that I wondered to myself if I’d ever return.

This went on for months.

Then one Sunday morning I awoke and felt led to go to church.

My husband was surprised when I announced that I was going to service that morning. Actually, I was surprised too.

When I arrived, it was like I had never left. Except the wooden pews were replaced with padded chairs. The chairs were spaced so that we could keep a safe distance from each other. Masks were mandatory. A sign-in sheet was used to track attendance.

But other than the COVID-imposed changes, the place felt like home.

Greeting other members, hearing “welcome back” and seeing eyes light up to see me made me feel loved.

When the music started and I once again raised my hands in worship, I was reduced to tears at the overwhelming feeling of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

This is what I missed.

God was in this house today. I could feel Him.

Not that I can’t connect with God on my daily walks in nature or during my evening prayers. But this was different.

There is just something special about gathering with other believers to worship and praise God. There is something exceptional about joining in corporate prayer.

I look forward to attending church — in person — again next week.

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