Just the Way You Are

…Or maybe I should say, “Just the way things were.” Isn’t that how we want things to be? Just like they were? You know, thriving stock markets and a strong economy, regular gatherings at church, no fear when someone around us coughs, grocery store shelves full of toilet paper… I’m feeling a little nostalgic for the good ol’ days (like 2 weeks ago!). I’m listening to a recording of Billy Joel singing one of his signature tunes: “Just the Way You Are” (love that tenor sax solo!), and wishing that things could be the way they were, with all of us together—in worship, at Bible study/book study groups, Wednesdays Together, small groups, and in all the other ways we would normally share the joy of community together. But, today, things are different. Things are fluid. Things are changing by the hour, and we don’t want them to. For there is generally some fear involved with change. Yet, we realize that difficult times often bring out the best in people. I’ve heard stories about neighbors helping neighbors after Hurricane Hugo hit the Charlotte area in 1989. I remember during the Ohio blizzard of 1978—a storm that virtually shut down the State for several days—how we all did what we could to help our neighbors. As we look for ways to help with this current crisis, we have questions, as the effects of the Coronavirus unfold across America and the rest of the world. As leaders of our church, we probably have more questions than answers: How long with this last? Is it still OK for small groups to gather? What about Holy week? Will we be able to gather by Palm Sunday or Easter? Should we even order Easter lilies? The Church is in the business of gathering people together. Learning how to be together, when we can’t be together, is different. So, we expand our use of social media. We send more text messages. We call each other on the phone. We look for creative ways to be the Church to our community, during these times of trouble. As the music plays in the background while I’m typing, I wonder what it would be like if God borrowed Billy Joel’s song, just for a stanza: I wouldn't leave you in times of troubleWe never could have come this farI took the good times; I'll take the bad timesI'll love you…even when things are the way they are. Let us share love, even as we long for the way things were, and live through the way things are. Blessings, Pastor Tenny