During this pandemic, I find myself losing track of time. Apparently I am not alone in this perception. A recent study in Liverpool, England researchers found that half of the respondents felt time was speeding up during the pandemic and the other half thought time appeared to be slowing down. Without our daily routines, it seems to be harder for us to gauge time.
      I am a person who enjoys having regular routines. Routines bring a sense of rhythm and normalcy to my life. When my routines are disrupted, I feel disconnected and vulnerable. Because I had just started at Park United when the pandemic hit, I hadn’t found my sense of routine with this congregation. This works the other way around as well: You haven’t been able to get used to my rhythms and routines as your pastor.
       Several of you have mentioned how much you miss coming to Sunday w worship. I feel this loss as well. For as long as I have been a Christian, Sunday has been my favorite day of the week. It is a time to connect with fellow brothers and sisters in the fellowship of divine Christian worship. Sundays energize me for the coming week. As a pastor, it is the culmination of a week’s work. While I still enjoy recording my sermon and children’s message on Sundays, I deeply miss the fellowship with God’s people. This pandemic has changed much in our lives, not least of all our time together.
      The renowned Jewish scholar Abraham Heschel noted that time is uniquely blessed and set aside as holy by God. In Genesis, we are told of how God created the universe and everything upon this earth. God began by creating light and separating the light from the darkness. In this act, he gave us the gift of separating time into day and night. After six days of creation, God looked upon his creation and pronounced that it was good. Therefore, he blessed the seventh day as being holy and set aside as a time of rest. Jesus reminds us that this was given as a gift to humankind when he pointed out to the Pharisees and his critics that “the Sabbath was made for man. Man wasn’t made for the Sabbath.”
Christians, except for Seventh Day Adventists, don’t typically worship on the traditional Saturday Sabbath. We instead worship on Sunday. There are various reasons and thoughts as to why this is the case. Sunday is after all the day that Jesus rose from the grave. In Sunday worship, we set aside Sunday to remember and celebrate the new life we have in the resurrection. Sunday is not only the first day of the week, it is the first day of our new relationship with God. Some have hypothesized that the first disciples were eventually excluded from meeting in the synagogues and so Sunday was seen as an alternative. Therefore, just as we have freedom in Christ, we have freedom in pronouncing what day our Sabbath is both personally and corporately.
     I look forward to the day that we can return back to worship within our sanctuary. Although this time has been tough, it has also helped us to reflect upon the great gift it is to meet freely and regularly in worship. Just as 9/11 and the Great Recession changed us, I am sure that the Great Pandemic will also change us. One thing that will never change is the love of God. Whenever we doubt God’s great love, we only have to see the sun rising in the morning to be reminded. In the new day, we see the sunlight upon the empty tomb and know that our future lies in front of us with God, the saints, and the heavenly hosts singing the praises of the universe. God be praised until we meet again.

Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Jon