[caption id="attachment_172010" align="aligncenter" width="1180"] Copyright 2020 Shannon Whitmore. All rights reserved.[/caption]
We’re beginning week 43568458 of quarantine (okay, slight exaggeration), and I rarely know what day it is. They all blend together now, a steady stream of workout clothes, messy buns, book reading, and walks around the neighborhood. Our family spends most of our waking hours together, and besides dinners, which change every night, there’s really nothing that makes our days unique. Except for Sunday. Sunday is our one shining beacon in a week of monotony, and I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated having this day of rest as much as I do now.
On Sunday mornings, we still get dressed up. My daughter and I don dresses, and my son wears a button-down, collared shirt. My husband dresses in slacks, if he remembers. By the time we’re all dressed and showered, most of the morning has passed, and we sit down for a family lunch together. We watch our church service on YouTube, joining hundreds of other members of our congregation who no longer can attend in person. We spend the afternoon together, taking a walk and playing together (not much different than every other day, at least for the kids and me), and then we finish the day with another shared meal. We do not work on Sundays, just as we have always done. Our day is dedicated to our family, and it remains the cornerstone to our week. If anything, it has become even more important to us, the one constant of hope in this new life filled with change and fear.
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I’d like to think our Sunday celebrations help our children as well. They’re too young to really understand what’s going on, but they know that something is up. They understand that we can’t have play dates or take trips to the playground and museum because people are sick. They know that they can’t see their friends, but on the upside, they get to spend more time with Daddy now. And now they know when a new week begins. Even if the other six days blend together, Sunday stands out for all of us, my kids included. They know what to expect on Sundays, and during this time of so much uncertainty, that’s a huge comfort.
A lot has changed during the last few weeks and months. We’ve stopped going to playgrounds, play dates, museums, and the mall. I haven’t needed to wear anything other than leggings in weeks, and my hair has existed in a perpetual ponytail between washings. Before this all began, when I went out for groceries, shelves were fully stocked and people were still smiling. Now? We can’t find toilet paper or frozen vegetables, and you couldn’t see anyone’s faces beneath their masks. In the midst of so much change, it’s a relief to have one constant in our lives that has survived the coronavirus outbreak.
Sundays are our bedrock, our reminder that even while the world changes faster than we can respond, God remains our constant. Sure, our Sunday doesn’t look quite the same. We are not surrounded by the rest of our congregation, though they worship with us in spirit. We wear dresses and slacks, but no make-up or shoes. We are never late to church, since the service begins precisely ten seconds after we all sit down on the couch, the amount of time it takes me to select it on YouTube.
Our worship is quieter, but no less fervent. We need to feel connected to God in a way we haven’t before. He offers peace and hope during this frightening time, and in a time of isolation, knowing that we are part of the Body of Christ is life-changing. We are not alone, and our Sundays give a whole new meaning to this #alonetogether life.
Discussion Question: How has this quarantine changed your view of Sundays and our need for community worship?
Copyright 2020 Shannon Whitmore
About the Author
Shannon Whitmore currently lives in northwestern Virginia with her husband, Andrew, and their two children, John and Felicity. When she is not caring for her children, Shannon enjoys writing for her blog, Love in the Little Things, reading fiction, and working in youth ministry. She has experience serving in the areas of youth ministry, religious education, sacramental preparation, and marriage enrichment.