Open up houses of worship?

some church music

open the church doorsCatbird asked me a question:

I just saw da prez say he’d overrule governors if they didn’t open up houses of worship this weekend. A legal analyst in the same BBC broadcast said he had no constitutional or legal authority to do this.

I suppose said houses of worship will decide for themselves.

I know you’re actively involved in your church, so I’m interested in your opinion on whether God cares WHERE people pray.

My understanding is that even in the strictest of interpretations it doesn’t matter more THAT one prays than where one does it.

What do you think?

My first response, I’m afraid, was lacking in Christian charity.

I will say that whoever has been advising “da prez” on these things has picked the confluence of several religious traditions. Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost in the Jewish tradition, is May 28-30. The Christian iteration of Pentecost is May 31. Ramadan ended the evening of May 23 for Muslims. And of course, Memorial Day begins the secular religion of the barbecue.

But, of course, it is false piety on his part. He can’t mandate it, but that’s not the point. He’s stirred up the base. “These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. “The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque,” he said.

Sure you can theoretically bring churches/synagogues/mosques back, with 10 people, socially distant, masks. Maybe more people in cathedrals and larger structures. No way you safely have a traditional choir. At my church, online services even offer the opportunity for communion.

Connecting remotely

I found this posted by a choir director of mine from a quarter-century ago. He quoted Tom Trenney, Minister of Music at First-Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, NE. “Our church is open. Open to patience and wisdom. Open to science and common sense. Open to discovering new ways to connect when it is unsafe to ‘do it the way we’ve always done it.’

“Open to saving lives by giving up some of the traditions and sacraments we hold dear. Open to wearing masks to show we love our neighbor. Open to keeping the sanctuary closed so more of us can come back together safely when it is time. Our church is open to following Jesus who, himself, spent time in the wilderness. We will remain open, and someday, by the grace of God, we will be able to worship together again.”

Or, as someone else noted recently, “If the only place you can worship your god is in a building specially built for it, you have a very small god.”

Obviously, we need some church music:

Date to Church – the Replacements
I Met Her In Church – the Box Tops
Church – Lyle Lovett

And some more religion tunes:

Have a Talk with God – Stevie Wonder
Down to the River to Pray – Alison Krauss
Wayfaring Stranger – Rhiannon Giddens
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
(What If God Was) One of Us? – Joan Osborne

Maybe a service:
Zoom Church – Saturday Night Live

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