Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?  (Does anybody really care…)

Anyone from my generation will read those opening words and immediately hear the horns of Chicago Transit Authority.   I woke up this morning thinking about that song and not because I was nostalgic for 70s music.   In the tedium and sameness of these pandemic days, there are moments when I have lost all sense of time and day.  It feels like everyday is one where the center point is something on my TV.  Could today be Masterpiece Theater,  could it be a new movie, could it be a church service?    With on-demand and continuous youtube even these standard signals of the proper day lose their power. 

In the midst of the most inconvenient times, some parts of life have become far too convenient and I for one, am suffering from that.   I am typing this on Sunday,  I know that because I got email alerts that services were coming on-line.   Nestled in my fuzzy robe and coffee in hand,   I pull up a worship service and begin to watch.  But, dang, my coffee cup is empty.   I pause the service and head downstairs for a refill.   The dog follows and needs to go outside so  (no judgement, please) I put my coat over my robe and take the dog for a quick walk.   Suddenly it doesn’t feel like Sunday anymore.   I begin to think of all those Sunday’s in the past, growing up on the western side of Nashville, going with my family to Harpeth Heights Baptist Church.   I laugh to myself, remembering all those car rides with my sister and I bickering with our mother over how we looked as we headed to church.   We were wearing too much makeup; our skirts were too short; our hair was not properly brushed (mine most likely not brushed at all….).    “Do you think God cares how we look,”  we would fire back.  “I’m not remembering any dress code when Jesus preached on the mountain.”     “Seriously,  we are going to church to worship the God who loves us ‘just as we are.’ Who cares how we look?”   (note:  arguments on the way to our church were always peppered with scripture and hymns totally out of context…)

Our car headed into the church driveway and stopped in our familiar parking spot.  My father turned around to address the rebels in the back seat.   He had a slight clinch in his jaw to indicate that this discussion was coming to an end.    “ I care.”    

And he did care.  My father was coming to worship his God and he was bringing his family to worship and connect with God.  It was important.   It was ritual and it took me a long time to understand that ritual is not about what God needs.   We need ritual. 

So back to the present, you know, where I’m walking my dog on Sunday morning with my coat over by robe.  I remember something the pastor said in those few minutes before I cut out.   He invited us to worship and suggested that we light a candle and prepare our hearts and minds to come into the presence of God.   

I came back in and got dressed (ok yoga pants; let’s don’t get crazy),  found a candle, lit it and began again.   Does anybody really know what time it is?  Does anybody really care?

It’s Sunday  and in the words of my father,  I care. 

Grace and Peace


Note:   Divinity school doesn’t begin until the 26th, so for this next week.  I’ll be blogging on the importance of ritual in the days of pandemic.     

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