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I don’t know all that was behind the lyrics of the Pink Floyd song, Wish You Were Here, but lately, as I’ve been thinking about Sundays, I keep thinking, I wish you were here. And now, with an additional service, perhaps you will be here.

Commencing this Sunday, we are scheduling two morning services: 08:30 AM and 10:30 AM, along with our already scheduled 5:30 PM evening gathering. With numbers restricted by the government to fifty people per service, we can theoretically accommodate 150 persons each Sunday. I want to use this article to encourage those who can to register.  I believe I speak for the congregation when I say that your fellow church members really do wish you were here.

We wish you were here because we are starting to forget what you look like! When I saw little Zachary Smith last Sunday, I was amazed at how big he has gotten, and could hardly believe that he is walking. I’ve been surprised at how many of our children look so much older. And without mentioning names, so do some of our other members!

But on a more serious note, I wish you were here because fellowship—even with social distancing—remains a precious privilege of God’s people. In recent weeks, as more members have been gathering, we’ve experienced the joy of interacting with one another—a joy evidenced even behind masks.

I wish you were here because praying together and hearing the corporate (though mask-muffled) corporate “amen” is such an encouragement reminding us that we are not alone in either our praise or in our petition.

I wish you were here because lonely people in our congregation need the encouragement of you being here. I’m reminded each week that some of our members are feeling very alone. But when we gather on Sunday, it makes a statement that they are not alone.

Imagine living by yourself in these days and then coming to church on Sunday only to find a mere handful of people—the majority of whom are sitting alone. This can be demoralising. Hence my appeal: Leave the comfort of your living room, gather at the church hall, and remind others that they are not alone. And, by the way, if you are concerned that your children will be disruptive during the service, let me just say that we wish they were here as well. We are a family. We can happily handle all that means.

Finally, I wish you were here because, along with the elders, and along with many in our congregation, we are burdened that if you continue to not be here, you may, in the end, never be here. I can’t say it too often: Beware of your temporary cocoon becoming a spiritual and relational coffin. I therefore wish you were here because I know the dangers of becoming accustomed to not being here. I am concerned that if we do not make the effort to be here, then one day, long after the pandemic, our congregation will lament your ongoing absence and we will continue to be wishing you were here.

The nature of shepherds is to anticipate potential danger to the flock. Not gathering, when we can, is one of those dangers. So yes, we wish you were here!

Please also note this needful caveat: Health issues preclude some from being here. And so though we wish you were here, we understand why you are not. But for those who can, please prioritise being present.

If you make the effort to be here, logistical challenges will arise. We will do our best to constructively and creatively address them. Please, we’d be happy to have such a problem!

Wishing you were here,