I went to church this morning

I went to church this morning, for the first time in several years; you may remember I reported from the churchyard in the first of my lockdown videos, and now that the lockdown is easing, I wanted to see how the community is putting itself back together.

Well, it's still not religion as we knew it before. No hymn singing allowed by the congregation, just a cantor intoning from the back; no communion for anyone except the priest; only every third seat in every second row was available to sit in.

But it was still an important celebration. The service was centred around the Paschal candle which should normally have been lit at Easter, two months ago. The gospel was Matthew 10:26-33, whose tagline is "Be not afraid". And the first time that the congregation as a whole spoke was to jointly profess the Creed – one of the special Belgian ones:

Ik geloof in God, die liefde is
en ons de wereld schenkt.
Ik geloof ook dat God ons roept en zendt
om van deze wereld een thuis te maken:
een wereld zonder honger,
zonder oorlog, zonder haat,
een wereld vol goedheid,
rechtvaardigheid en vrede.

Ik geloof in Jezus Christus,
die geroepen en gezonden
werd om lief en leed met ons te delen
om, geborgen in Gods liefde,
zich te geven aan de mensen.
Ik geloof ook dat de Heer ons roept en zendt
om lief en leed te delen in liefde met elkaar.

Ik geloof dat de Heer zijn Geest van liefde
schenkt aan alle mensen.
Ik geloof ook dat de Heer ons roept en zendt
om van zijn blijde boodschap te getuigen
in woord en daad;
opdat alle mensen van de wereld
broers en zusters zouden worden
in de kerk van zijn liefde,
op weg naar zijn rijk van vrede
en vriendschap voor altijd.

. I believe in God, who is love
and gives us the world.
I also believe that God calls and sends us
to make this world a home:
a world without hunger,
without war, without hate,
a world full of goodness,
justice and peace.

I believe in Jesus Christ,
who was called and sent
to share our joys and sorrows
to give himself to the people,
hidden in God's love.
I also believe that the Lord calls and sends us
to share love and sorrow in love with one another.

I believe that the Lord gives His Spirit of love
to all people.
I also believe that the Lord calls and sends us
to bear wtiness to his joyful message
in word and deed;
that all the people of the world
might become brothers and sisters
in the church of his love,
towards his kingdom of peace
and friendship forever.

I’m not sure that I will go back very often. But it was important to go today.

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