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To Emmaus, 

Top 5 reasons I think social distancing will make Emmaus more of a community than we were before. 

  1. The Hair - If 2PC were to put out a pamphlet with a description of every Sunday school class (or Grace Community or Life Group or whatever we call it), Emmaus would have words like ‘honest’ and ‘real’ and ‘raw’ in the description. We might even secretly pride ourselves on that, for better or worse. Today’s Zoom zoomed in on us and made our typical Sunday ‘realness' look massively gussied up. I absolutely loved seeing hairstyles that nobody had taken time to manage. It’s just one teeny tiny piece of the image that we are brushing away thanks to COVID-19. 

  2. The kids - Charlie Hurst dancing in a pillowcase by the kitchen table is a walking (no, dancing) answer to prayer many of us prayed! Kids make things more interesting. Always. The Turnage girls climbing on the back of the couch in order to listen to how God is working is Deuteronomy 6:6-7* in action, and we all got to be a part of that. Ann Carlyle feels like one of us, and Jim was wishing he could have said an audible ‘hi’ to Amos. He loves that kid. Daisy was delighted to see herself on the screen as a part of a group. We all were, weren’t we. We needed to see our own healthy church body still ticking along, and that means not just the adults, but the kids too. 

  3. The homes - If home is where the heart is, then what are we missing when we haven’t seen each other’s homes? Did you see how many books Catherine Burns has? That’s why they’re all so smart! Laurin Maddux, that festive garland hanging up in your arched doorway showed me a sliver of your personality I didn’t know about before. You’re a celebrator! Sitting at the Hursts’ table and getting the full view of the kitchen made me feel they had invited me over for family brunch. The way Audrey was caring for Lainey gave me a glimpse at what it must be like to be a Hurst on a regular day. It was even fun to see so many windows in the background and remember that we’re all under the same sky with the same sun and the same clouds and the same rain falling on our heads…and the same God taking care of us all. 

  4. The books - Catherine Burns wasn’t the only one who had books. At least five homes had books in the background…fascinating. What we put in our brains (and therefore, hearts) really helps to determine who we are, even if sometimes we don’t agree with what we read. To spend money on a book, keep it, and display it on a shelf means a photo of your bookshelf could reveal a little something about what makes you…you. No two compilations are the same. Your collection of books represents an internal part of you that comes to church on Sunday, but the rest of us can’t see. We caught a glimpse today and it reminds us of what a multi-faceted community we are a part of, and that reminds us to praise the Lord for each other as individuals within the group. 

  5. Faces - During the lesson, we normally just look at our teacher’s face. Sometimes I turn around if I don’t recognize the voice behind me, but for the most part, eh…I’ll just face forward. Laziness, I guess. But today, every reaction was recorded and I got to see each one. It brought joy to me to see the Newmans laugh side-by-side and the Terhunes were so cozy in their little square. I was so glad to see the Scoggins, and Joy, I thought about all you’ve been going through and my heart hurt for you when I saw your face. I will be praying for you. Thanks for making the effort to show up. It helped me to see you. Normally, we spend the bulk of the 45 Emmuas minutes looking at Matt or Dan or Drew and while they all have fine faces, seeing all of your faces at once was a gift to me today for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on. For a second, the screen went away and we were all together and we know what the Bible says about where two or more are gathered in his name**…

Until next week, sisters and brothers…

Candace Echols

*Deuteronomy 6:6-7 - And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

**Matthew 18:20 - For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

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