I remember watching old home improvement videos from Don Zeman, whom some of you may remember as Nancy (Roberts) Zeman’s late husband. In his “Homefront” video clips, Don would teach a short home maintenance lesson and end with his reassuring catchphrase, “Trust me – you can do this stuff!” It made amateurs like me with very few practical skills feel a little less intimidated and a little more confident.
Speaking of amateurs, Sunday morning we had our first “family worship.” We didn’t sing, but we did read Psalm 23 together. We talked about not being afraid when the world goes berserk, the peace of God’s presence, our favorite places, and what it means to “be still.” We shared joys and concerns, prayed for others, and thanked God for each other. Piece of cake, right?
Like many Do-It-Youselfers discover, the project was not as easy as the pros made it look. The five of us worship together in church nearly every week. We sing together, pray together, read scripture, have communion, hear the message… So why should that be so uncomfortable in our own living room? It was hard to get and stay focused. It was awkward. It felt “out of sorts” for a goofy, noisy, sarcastic, joking family to try to be serious and concentrate. It felt raw and exposed and different, and I’m ashamed to tell you that. But it also felt real, fulfilling, meaningful, connecting, and proud. It was a clumsy, cobbled success, but a success nonetheless. With practice it will get easier, and we’re already better for it.
Don’t get me wrong. I much prefer Sunday worship in church. We get up, get dressed, make the drive, and we take our seats. The church leads us in worship. We feel energized, inspired, connected, and loved. We don’t have to decide what to sing, what to read, what to pray about. The hymn lyrics are in front of us. The sermon is given for us to enjoy and to learn. The gift of beautiful music touches our souls. It’s wonderful. It’s important and essential. And it requires nothing from most of us but showing up. Others are working hard every week to give that gift to us. For the rest of us, the work and the preparations are already done. We appreciate it more as we grow older, but it’s nothing we haven’t done since childhood. We all participate and share, but we leave the heavy lifting in the hands of the “experts.”
I don’t profess to know what God thinks of the current state of affairs in our world; but I do think God is watching and asking us, “What will you do with this challenge?” This is an opportunity for growth; a chance to hone our skills – to step up and step out – to come up to that “higher place.” For many of us, a DIY worship service is where the rubber meets the road.
I miss our worship together. I’m guessing you do, too, or at least I hope you do. But I also hope you’re taking this as an opportunity to find alternative ways to worship in the meantime. Instead of feeling empty or sad or obsessing over missing the usual Sunday worship services, why not let this be a time of self-discovery and of learning what is required for putting together meaningful worship? Instead of only tuning in a sermon or service online, how about also planning a time for yourselves and acquiring an appreciation for the work that goes into every Sunday service? For maybe the first time, learn a little more about the faith of those with whom you share your lives. If you live alone, find a way to connect, even by phone, and share worship and prayer with another who may be in a similar situation, if only briefly.
Think of those Christians in the past generation who endured a similar gathering ban back in 1918. Imagine what they would say to encourage you. Think about how proud they must be that regular church worship is such an important part of your life over 100 years later. Pray that our physical separation is brief, but that you may grow in the interim. Then be ready to return to worship with a better appreciation for what it entails and a stronger than ever connection to God and the ones you love best.
Trust me – we can do this stuff!
Reach out to one another,