Where could I go to get away from your spirit?Psalm 139:7
Where could I go to escape your presence?
So it was complicated. Of course it would have to be, because Rebekah and I absolutely go to church. Going to church is written into our DNA. Setting time aside Sunday mornings to worship God is in a very real sense like breathing. Consider the word “inspire” – it means, literally, to take in the breath of life.
This Sunday morning we got up on time, we had our breakfast on time, I took care of my dad and got him going for the day on time.
I said, “Let’s go to St. Andrews again. It’s the closest to home and they start at 11:00, so I have time to take care of dad without rushing.”
Then I poured another leisurely cup of coffee and we went out on the deck, like regular people planning to go to church in good time and without a care in the world.
Did I say no rush?
At 10:25 – I decided to check the church web site again for some detail. I guess I must have remembered incorrectly from the other week, because lo and behold worship was slated to start at 10:30!
In the car, down the driveway, off we go. Then I remember White Memorial meets at 11:00. So zoom-zoom down Capital Boulevard, blowing through the occasional yellow light at a healthy speed. But traffic. But red lights. But back up and congestion. Gradually it dawns on us that we will not be there before at best 11:20, and showing up that late – for us – is not acceptable.
“I would always notice when people come in really late,” Rebekah said. “I don’t want us to be those people.”
So we turned off onto 440, we exited at Wake Forest Road, and we took Falls of Neuse back toward home.
No church. No sitting among God’s good people for in-person worship. No message shared from someone’s heart. It felt wrong. We felt empty. Rebekah took it hard.
Of course, yes, it was more than just missing church. It was the cumulative missing our church, our people, our sense of spiritual community, our beautiful gathering of the Body of Christ. What we really cried for – for the first time on a Sunday morning – was the hollow emptiness of missing Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. The misadventures of yesterday morning just put it all into focus.
So we roll into the driveway at Maul-Hall just 45-minutes after we left and of course Max is very pleased to see us. We head inside and directly to the kitchen, where I prepare and serve a good – and necessary – cup of tea.
“Think Central Time!” I say hopefully. “Trinity Presbyterian Church in Pensacola is on Central Time, and they meet at 10:30.”
Hurriedly I search FaceBook and then YouTube. “Besides,” I added, “no-one is going to know we’re a couple of minutes late.”
So Rebekah and I took our sacramental cup of tea and we sat together on the couch and we worshipped with the saints at Trinity Presbyterian Church (where Rebekah served for 14 years), and we listened to our friend Hugh Hamilton share God’s good word, and we sang along, and we kind of, almost, at least a little bit, went to church. But there is nothing like showing up with real people in a real place. And there is nothing like being in worship together. And there is most definitely nothing (still nothing remotely) like Wake Forest Presbyterian Church.
Love and peace and blessings to each one of you. The journey continues – DEREK