Church Cats

This morning we settled into the church’s zoom worship service.  I had a nice cup of tea as we listened to the first hymn and opening announcements.  Church isn’t the same this way.  There’s no greeting friends, no greeters at the door, and no random one-liners to give the pastor.  While I like my living room, it doesn’t generate the same feeling of reverence that a sanctuary does.

Singing isn’t the same as I don’t generally sing along with the organ music playing through the TV speakers.  There is still a Bible reading and a sermon.  Given the restrictions churches are operating under, it’s about all a pastor and a few volunteers can do.  They try to be creative with a children’s moment – our local church uses an “honorary child” for the pastor to talk to.

Try as they might to bring some normal into our lives, it’s just not the same.  It’s even harder since we moved.  If theses were normal times Heather and I would be driving around town visiting the local churches.  There would be conversations with members and maybe coffee with the pastor.  Soon we’d decide on a place to spend our Sunday mornings.  Likely I’d join the local Bible study group and give the pastor the benefit of my one-liner wisdom in the reception line after service.

Instead we sit on the couch while my iPad connects to whatever service we’ve decided to join.  In this ultra-connected world we can still join the service at our church in San Jose or pick a place on the map and join any congregation.  Often we watch a church where we know members and the pastor and where they have a really good tech team and put on an engaging Sunday morning service.

It’s a strange balance – one foot physically in another state with one foot still firmly in the past.

Just before the morning reading I call to one of the cats, “Come here and be a church cat.”

By the end of the service, the tea is gone and all three of the cats are parked on laps or the back of the couch.  They doze and I think of an old joke said to preachers, “Sometimes your job is to give people 20 minutes of good sleep.”

There’s no walk to coffee time for bad coffee and a few cookies.

There is just realizing how much we’ve lost.

There is just the hope that this new vaccine will be the beginning of rebuilding the connections we desperately miss.

There is just an empty tea cup and a kitty complaining that service is over.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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34 Responses to Church Cats

  1. Church would be more popular if everyone got a cat on their lap. I must, however, protest to this post having CAT in the title yet no pictures of CATS in the post!!! Cruel, Andrew. Very cruel.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aquene7 says:

    The disconnectedness and loss of physical interaction through church is real. As in all relationships this year. Zoom has given us an alternative reality but it cannot replace face to face relationships. That feeds your soul😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Christi says:

    My husband has been doing services online since late March and in some ways, it’s more work for him than in person. On the other hand, we have people watching from five different states. Still, it’ll be nice to see each other again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our church in San Jose struggled at first with the technology. Took them a few weeks to get it all setup and I get that it’s a lot of work to do it that way. Still, it’s good that they’re making the effort and will deserve a nice vacation when this is all over.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Baydreamer says:

    Zoom isn’t the same, but it has definitely provided an option to somehow stay connected even in Brady Bunch fashion. 🙂 There is light at the end of the tunnel, but I think we still need to be patient. Always one day at a time, doing the best we can in unprecedented circumstances. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s such a tough time for everyone who has had to give up or modify the things that bring them peace and comfort. Here’s hoping the vaccines are effective and you’ll soon be able to go out and find the ideal church in your new area.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debra says:

    I can understand how eager you must be to begin a church search in a new town. I’m getting a little weary of our own Zoom church services, but I have had an opportunity to visit others, like a cousin’s church where he preached one Sunday. I suppose that’s been advantageous. I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned your cats, but our dog Zena has been attending church with us each week. I hope she won’t miss out too much when we return to “in-person” services.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave says:

    Totally agree Andrew – it’s not the same. Zoom was a novelty at first, going to church in the comfort of our sitting room. But we quickly realized how much of the in-person experience we missed – the before-service catch-ups with friends, the passing of the peace, communion at the rail, coffee afterwards. Without a congregation it’s little more than a weekly message from the pastor (which is still worth tuning in for). As of today, our Christmas Eve services will be in the church parking lot (broadcast through car radios). Colorado just deemed churches “essential services” so my hope is we’ll actually get some form of indoor service.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not the same. Our church here did a drive in service last month before it got cold. Right now the feeling in our church seems to be to wait till January before thinking about any changes. I’m predicting that our church leaders won’t want to open much before February, even if the local government allows.

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  8. Well, the vaccine has arrived. You and I are of that age group so this all might soon be over. Of course, all the businesses might be permanently closed but that’s another issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It will take some time for the vaccine to make its rounds…here’s hoping it does the job.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jfwknifton says:

    Zoom has done amazing things for old people who are too frightened to go out or who have been told to shelter because of their vulnerability. They would have died of loneliness without zoom.
    In some places, the zoom congregation is considerably larger than the real congregation used to be.
    It will be interesting to see how things develop when the vaccine comes round, but none of the various vaccines will give us 100% invulnerability as far as I can see. Perhaps there will be a Church of St Zoom on the internet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a feeling that when this is over there will still be lots of meetings and things happening on zoom. I know of churches and other groups who’ve been using tech before COVID and I suspect it will remain strong afterwards. ST. Zoom is a real possibility.

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  11. It’s not the same, Andrew. Participating in events over Zoom is just not the same at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pied Type says:

    It must be difficult if you’re used to going to church on Sundays, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates your attending virtual services instead of gathering in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Teressa says:

    Establishing new connections after a move is hard enough in more ordinary times; it sounds nearly impossible this year. Hoping with you and so many others for the day when we are able to safely gather in person with others for worship – one-liners, bad coffee, and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Terry says:

    One foot in each state? I know the feeling. I’ve lived in thirty-three zip codes so far. Some mornings I wake up and it takes a moment to remember where I am!

    Like

  15. floridaborne says:

    I thought the supreme court ruled that it was a violation of the separation of church and state for the state to dictate if places of worship could or could not meet.

    Like

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