Here’s the church
here’s the steeple
open the doors
see no people
We went anyway, my husband and I, on this dark Sunday.
Sanctuary silence. Stillness. Social distance.
But still a sermon, for social media.
A few friends, who filmed.
Here’s the preacher
in spite of the scares
here he is
saying our prayers
No hymns, no music, no choir except birdsong beyond the hallowed halls:
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
An ill wind moaning under the eaves, an unseen person pulling on locked doors:
I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world below
There is no sickness, toil, or danger
In that bright land to which I go…
I went to see. Found no one but me. The sky so moody, the day so broody, like forces dark. Sickness makes its mark. It lurks nearby and that is why—no immunity, no community, Day of Prayer, no one there. In the shadow of the steeple, no people; it’s safer to be home. The Vatican says there’ll be no Easter services in Rome.
Penitents without one plea. Lenten lament, mourning this morning.
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world
The songbirds sing, the recorder runs, Scripture is spoken.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Only an interlude of isolation. Will be our preservation.
My husband, the preacher, prays without his congregation.
I bow, and feel a sudden warmth from the stained-glass.
The sun, at last.
Quotations: “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple” nursery rhyme, adapted; John 8:12.
Hymns: His Eye Is on the Sparrow, Wayfaring Stranger, Morning Has Broken
Photos: J. Pearce. 03/15/2020.