Preparing for Worship – George Mason, senior pastor.
It was a big hit for Frank Sinatra, and it’s been recorded by Jimmy Durante, Peggy Lee, Willie Nelson and innumerable others. For my money, though, the inimitable Billie Holiday sang it best: I’ll be seeing you/ In all the old familiar places/ That this heart of mine embraces …
“I’ll Be Seeing You,” written in 1938, has that timeless appeal of anything that conveys truly human emotion.
Like the way I feel about this coming year with you. I want to see you in that old familiar Sanctuary that this heart of mine embraces. I don’t want to imagine you on the other side of a video camera, sitting in front of a TV or computer in your pajamas. I want to see you in your old familiar place in the pew dressed in your Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes.
Want is a noun that doesn’t want to be a thing or the lack of a thing; it wants to be a verb with a direct object. It expresses the longing we share for being together as a community of faith after these nine-plus months of not seeing each other much. Yes, we’ve waved at each other in masked-up, socially distanced parking lot events, gestured air-hugs when picking up Wednesday meals, fist-dapped or elbow-bumped in careful passing. But we want the physical touch, the close-talking, the risky intimacy of a holy kiss.
Promising vaccines are making their way from one tranche of vulnerable souls to the next. We are still months away from the herd immunity that will free us from COVID captivity to be with one another in our old familiar place called Wilshire.
The more we discipline our desires now by delaying gratification, the sooner we see one another in that way our heart embraces. Until then, as the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians, let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Stay connected in the meantime. Call and talk. Text and chat. Email and update. Write and greet. Zoom and study. YouTube and worship. Do the possible until the possible includes our deepest want.
Happy New Year, church. We’re on the downside of the mountain now. I’ll be seeing you sooner rather than later, God willing.