Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

Wednesday is the new Sunday. It is the new normal.

The Sunday services are recorded on Wednesday morning. In the days prior, sermons are written and songs are rehearsed, flowers appear.

Laura Canby walked into my office on Thursday afternoon, mask on, coffee mug in hand, her brain spinning with seemingly never-ending creative energy. Laura is the mastermind of our video production; she sets the scene, checks the camera angles, and pays close attention to sound and lighting. She is our mentor, our drill sergeant, colleague, and friend. Her questions are pointed, her dedication knows no bounds, and her encouragement is unfailing.

By the time you tune in from your couch on Sunday morning, our worship services appear to be seamless. It all seems so effortless, but that belies the genius of our producer. When the reluctant performers exit the stage, Laura works her magic. She is the wizard behind the curtain, pulling the strings of dozens of TLC marionettes. Hours of film must be edited, all the pieces must fit in time and space, each single tributary painstakingly merges to form a single river.

Laura Canby walked into my office on Thursday afternoon, mask on, coffee mug in hand. Her question was quite simple. “What do you want the title of your sermon to be?” I looked at her quizzically. She paused and then patiently repeated her question. Repeating a statement or question is a common occurrence in pandemic days when people with hearing loss are trying to understand the muffled syllables that try to escape from behind the mask. “What do you want your sermon title to be?”

I explained to her that I had indeed heard her the first time, but I had no idea what the sermon was about. “Give me a clue. Was there a main point?” Laura was not sure whether she should be amazed or deeply concerned that I had forgotten a sermon preached only 24 hours earlier. I did not remember the sermon, but I did know that it was still residing in a notebook on my desk. Suffice it to say that within a few minutes we had a sermon title. What did we settle on? I don’t remember.

When the recording was over the magic would begin for our talented Director of Technology and Social Media. For me, it was time to move on to a Thanksgiving Eve fireside service with Karl, to the upcoming season of Advent, to the concerns of a dozen families suffering from pandemic life changes. The new normal of 2020 has caused us all to reinvent ourselves. Our lives changed so very quickly. Our routines, our travel, our patterns of service and social interaction all came to an abrupt halt some eight months ago. I believe that the rhythms of our lives will change again, for the better, in the not-too-distant future. There is only one way that this pandemic ends, and that is with the triumph of science and the human spirit. When the victory is won, some semblances of our pre-pandemic lifestyle will return, and some are perhaps just gone. Gone, like walking someone to the gate at the airport. Gone, like pulling over at a phone booth and fumbling with change to make a call.

If I cannot hear you from behind your mask, please be patient with me. If you ask me about a sermon and I look confused, please be patient with me. Our lives have been turned upside down, but we are in this together, so let’s be patient and kind with our elderly and our young. Let’s be courteous as we all adjust to a new normal. After all, who would have ever thought that Wednesday would be the new Sunday?

One day closer,
Pastor Jim