I love the first song in the second half of “Hamilton.” It is a hilarious song that transitions the show, and many of the cast members, into a new portion of the story of Alexander Hamilton and his work in the administration of President George Washington.
The song, called “What Did I Miss?,” introduces Thomas Jefferson to the story, but with some humor since it is played by the same actor who, in the first half, portrayed the Marquis de Lafayette. In the song, though, the conversation is in the past tense. It describes things that Jefferson has missed while he was in France and moves the story along past the Revolutionary War. To be honest, it is the celebratory dancing that make the song. If you don’t believe me, access Disney Plus and watch for yourself.
While the song may be sung in the past tense, I believe for many of us in the church we are living out the song. There are things we miss as we continue to exist in a socially distant expression of worship in response to the current pandemic. I hear these things expressed in conversation and, recently, as we have transitioned to a modified form of worship in our parking lot. We are missing the people, music, and worship as a body.
I can understand that. I feel each of those things in my soul.
But, what do I miss? What am I missing about our communal life together in the church as we progress in this pandemic?
For one, I am missing the sacraments. I love receiving and taking the sacraments, especially community. My soul has deeply missed the prayerful connection with Christ’s grace through the expressions found in the bread and juice. This is one of the longest periods of my spiritual life that I can recall going without communion. I yearn for the day that we can find a safe and practical way to administer this important sacrament.
I’m also missing working on the sermon at Panera Bread or Dunkin’ Donuts. While I know the places like Panera and Dunkin’ are open to indoor seating, due to my asthma I have refrained from venturing to those places just yet. I have always enjoyed working on the sermon in a public place, because it gives me a different perspective of the community than what I often experience inside the church office. I need that, because it is easy for me to have blinders on and only see what is in front of me. I need that perspective.
As well, I am missing Bible studies in person. I’m missing gathering with a group of people to study Scripture together. There is something special about that gathering where we build relationships with one another, laugh, ask difficult questions, and grow in our faith. I’m missing that, not just as a teacher but as a follower of Christ.
We are all missing crucial aspects of life during this pandemic. It is important to name them, now, so that we can appreciate their value and importance when these aspects of life return.