Last night at the Church Supper there was a lot of conversation about whether or not to cancel today’s service. I must admit it’s a very odd feeling to cancel church. Growing up in the South, I had never heard of such a thing, and the big UCC church we attended for 15 years here in Portland never, ever cancelled. It didn’t matter the weather or how far away the minister lived, there was always at least one service. I remember climbing over the banks of snow with the children one Sunday to walk to church, because I *had* to sing in the choir!! It was fun to be one of a dozen singers who made it that day, out of the usual turnout of 40 or so. It was exciting to quickly learn some substitute music. I felt brave and important!! And I felt piously indispensable, just like the ministers.
Today I noticed they cancelled, too.
When I mentioned it to my husband, he asked, “Is that a bad thing?”
At my little church, they never had to cancel, because the previous pastors lived in the parsonage, which is right next door, in the parking lot! That driveway’s width was not a great enough distance to justify cancellation. But of course the fact that you’re having church makes some people feel they must be there, no matter the weather. Perhaps they feel indispensable, too.
It just makes sense to me that in the face of a blizzard warning, in the midst of a storm depositing 10-18″ of snow, that we should all be safe in our homes, not driving around in potential white-out conditions.
But, then, I’m a Virginian by birth. Where I’m from, they cancel school for 1″ of snow.
Perhaps the no-cancellation histories of these Congregational churches is not about indispensability, but about hardiness. I always love to look at seed packets and see what zones the flowers they produce will thrive in, or not. I love lilacs because they are hardy. They live through this winter, surrounded by snow (and in my yard gnawed on by Bernese Mountain Dogs), and yet they faithfully bloom each spring, filling the air with their intoxicating scent, as exotic as anything I grew up whiffing down South.
For today, the Annual Meeting will have to wait, and the bulletins already printed and folded will be recycled (or perhaps reused–why not? It’s still a good worship service I had planned!), and the world will go on, despite a lack of hardiness or a show of common sense. When we meet again the fragrance of God will still be among us.