Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Day 45, April 27, 2020
“Your Go Bag”

People who are prepared for any emergency keep at their ready what is called a “Go bag”. The idea is that if some unforeseen situation arises that requires you to leave home immediately you are set to go. You just grab your “Go bag”. I have heard expectant mothers often prepare a “Go bag” so that in case of unexpected labor pains they are ready to go. Sometime in the future, hopefully the near future, it will be time to go back to church. I don’t think it will be like an earthquake that comes out of nowhere when we find out it is time to go back. Our governmental leaders will undoubtedly give us some time to prepare. And although I don’t think it will happen unexpectedly like an earthquake, I am definitely praying the gestation period before we can meet again is not nine months. Lord, please let us “go back” before another nine months!

Whenever it happens, and we all hope it will be sooner rather than later, I would like to encourage you to have a “Go bag” ready for when we can finally gather together again. Here are some suggestions for what to include in your “Go bag”:

·        A name tag. It has been a long time since we have been together. We might have to reintroduce ourselves. Get a big huge sharpie and write your name on an 81/2 by 11 piece of paper and tape it right onto your shirt or blouse.

·        With the name tag, it might be helpful to include a picture of yourself Pre-Coronavirus. I have not gone without a haircut for this long in I don’t know how long! We are all going to look a little different after this time of self-isolation. I have never had any luck growing facial hair, but Andy Wallace has a fine beard coming in. We will all have changed in what is coming up on two months. Bring a Pre-Coronavirus picture to help identify yourself.

·        Of course, you have to bring a mask. It is almost certain post-quarantine we will still be wearing masks. How about this…if you made your mask, or someone who is a friend, a member of your family or a church member made the mask, give them a shout-out! Put a little “Made by” note on your mask. What an amazing thing to see so many who sew use their gifts to help others.

·        Throw a tape measure in your “Go bag” just to be safe. Six feet, friends, six feet. Measure it out and keep that safe distance.

·        Don’t forget to bring a pillow. That old pastor of yours has not preached to a live audience in a looooong time. There is a good chance it will be a looooong sermon, so bring a pillow.

·        And by the way, don’t be surprised if your pastor tries to add a little levity when he stands up and calls for the offering while he is wearing a mask. How often does a pastor get to stand up before a group of people, wearing a mask that makes him look like a bank robber? There’s a good chance I’m going to have a little fun and say, “Give me all your money!”

·        I plan on throwing the biggest Ziploc bag I have into my “Go bag.” I am going to use that Ziploc bag to catch all the air kisses that we are going to be blowing to one another. It will be hard to be back together and not be our old hugging selves. By capturing those air kisses in a Ziploc bag, I will be able bring the joy of community home with me and that is a gift I will treasure.

·        With your Ziploc bag bring several Tupperware containers, the bigger the better. I am thinking we might have the most elaborate Coffee Fellowship in the history of the church. There better be some famous Artichoke dip, cinnamon rolls, homemade cookies and brownies and nut breads and pies, some deviled eggs and some Angel Food Cake, more fruit and veggie trays than you can count, big huge slices of salami and cheese, and some finger sandwiches thrown in for good measure. Bring Tupperware. There’s going to be lots of leftovers.

          It’s not too soon to get your “Go bag” together. Just like that great day when Jesus will return, we don’t know the time or the date that it will happen, at least not yet, but we do know it will happen. The announcement will come that churches can meet again. Oh, that will be such good news. I hope when that announcement comes you are ready “To go!” I hope when that announcement comes you have your “Go bag” all ready to go.

All kidding aside, we are going to begin preparing for when the time comes to meet again. There will be restrictions that we will follow, and precautions we will take. And even though we will all probably bring some things to church we would have never imagined bringing to church just a few months ago, please know I am speaking mostly in jest when I talk about having a “Go bag.” When we start meeting again, and it cannot be soon enough for this pastor who misses his people, when we start meeting again, one thing will be exactly like it has always been. You just come as you are. Just come as you are. You are welcome, you belong, church is your home, and the doors will be wide open.

I do not know when that date will be. But I do know the words I will say when we have all settled back into those precious pews. “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.’” Until that day stay safe and know that the Lord is watching over us even in this time of being alone.

With the love of Christ,