• 57°

Kent Bernhardt column: COVID church

By Kent Bernhardt
For the Salisbury Post

I grew up in small town America during a time when you couldn’t imagine not being in church on Sunday morning.

Church was where families went each Sunday — together — in one car and dressed to the hilt. For young men like me, that meant a clean white shirt with no holes in it and a dark tie. My mom had final approval on any and all of my wardrobe choices.

There were Sundays we were excused from services because of heavy snow, and there was that one Sunday my family opted out of services in favor of attending a showing of “The Sound of Music” in nearby Charlotte. Since it was a movie about nuns, we figured God would understand.

Now, thanks to COVID fears, we are worshiping at home in our pajamas, cup of coffee in hand and barefoot. The message is the same but the fellowship is missing, and I’ve always felt that’s the most important part. There’s something about sharing a pew with fellow travelers on a spiritual journey that just can’t be replicated online.

Still, mindful of the safety of others, we try. Thank God for the technology that allows us at least some form of community.  And thank God for digital scholars who understand this technology on a higher level than I ever will.

My particular flock has done a wonderful job of online worship. They haven’t found a way to replicate the smell of Methodist coffee, but I’m sure they’re working on it.

I’ve heard voices around me warn that COVID will be the death nail of the existence of the church, which in their view is already on life support. Our habits will change, and we will see no need for it in the future, they say.

Then they throw in the trump card. “Besides, the church is full of nothing but hypocrites.”

To the last person who said that to me, I replied “That may be true, but why don’t you join us anyway so we’ll have one more.”

There are many reasons I choose to go, and many reasons others choose not to. I’m not in the business of judging motives or actions either way. Your journey is different than mine.

But I will tell you I do find a refreshing sense of purpose and being there, especially during a time when our faith in government and society in general seems to be in short supply. The year 2020 was hard on us all, and 2021 shows little sign of letting up. If I choose to cling to something, why not something that increases my faith in God?

The God who sees my hypocrisy and loves me anyway. The God who has never ceased to be there when others drift away.  The God who helps me make sense of it all, even during the darkest of times.

So I’m still grabbing my cup of coffee and stumbling to the TV set to meet with my church family whenever and however I can. They understand and forgive my disheveled hair and toenails that could use trimming.

Most importantly, they understand and forgive the fact that my mother no longer makes my church wardrobe choices, so my pajamas may not exactly match my orange T-shirt with the hole in the front.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards