The time of COVID-19 has changed our lives in ways we never would have imagined a couple of months ago. We stay home for school, for work, for meals, for play, and even for church. We are all grieving the loss and ease of being with our friends and neighbors. It has been especially hard to find ways to be together as a church community. I miss the children who I am used to seeing every week at church in my job as a children’s ministry director and choir director. It’s not easy to find ways online to recreate the experience of Sunday School, music-making, and fellowship. However, as I reflect on what’s happening in our world, I see so many ways that we are doing an incredible job of showing our children God’s love in new and surprising ways.
By staying home and keeping our social distance we are modeling the greatest commandment that Jesus taught us: love our neighbor. Our kids know that there is danger in this virus, but they also see that we are using compassion and care to love our neighbor by not spreading germs, by sacrificing our daily routines, and by working to ensure our community stays safe and healthy. We are modeling discipleship by dutifully working to our best abilities at new tasks like learning and working from home. It takes discipline to think in new ways, and Jesus’ followers were always being challenged to look at the world in a new light, with new eyes and care for those that we have around us.
There are so many fun activities posted online by church leaders and teachers that engage children and families together. For many children, this time of family faith formation is exciting. We often divide everyone up by age at church and send them off to learn. Suddenly, our worship experiences are in pajamas, in front of our television or computer screens, and we have a totally different sense of being in church together. Truly, families are already providing rituals and patterns at home that can be strengthened in this time like prayers at meals, gratitude lists at bedtime, talking about losses and hopes, and even spending time together outdoors in God’s creation. Children experiencing the church in this cloistered moment will never forget the powerful lessons of sharing God’s love and faithfulness with their families. For all the uncertainty that goes with this time in history, it feels remarkably true that faith and faithfulness are timeless.