I usually get to church about 6:30 on Sunday mornings. I like to be there early to run through my sermon once, make sure everything is set up for the morning and enjoy some quiet before the church comes alive when everyone arrives.
The first wave of people to show up is usually some of our musicians, followed by other volunteers who help make Sunday mornings possible. But yesterday, 7:30 am arrived and no one had arrived. No one was tuning, warming up or setting up music. I was the only one here.
7:35. No one has arrived. This is really strange. Now the thoughts start racing through my head. Is someone sick? I check my phone. No calls or texts. Is my watch right? The time on my phone matches. It’s not the fall equinox, when if you fail to turn your clock back, you are an hour early. It is Sunday morning, right? My guitar is at home. Are we going to have to sing a cappella this morning?
7:40. The bass player arrives with news that dozens of police cars had closed off the interstate and one of the main thoroughfares through town. He had to take several miles of detours to make it to church.
7:41. Music director arrives with a similar tale of diversions and detours.
Soon after, others arrive, all of them taking different routes to church.
When our church was closed for COVID quarantine, I had indeed worshiped all by myself in front of my iPhone set up on a tripod. But that was over a year ago. A weird flashback to a time I hope we never have to repeat.
Later that afternoon, I learned that the highway and bridge going over it were closed as sheriff’s deputies rescued a suicidal woman attempting to jump. They saved her and made it a much better Father’s day for her family.