What's a Little Snow?

Monday, January 6, 2014

I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and have spent most of my adult life in or around Chicago, so I’ve seen a lot of snow. This weekend’s ten inches barely counts.

Well, it did keep some people away from church and reduced our attendance by around half. It also got some of us talking about when it was appropriate to cancel church.

My father always said that he would have the worship service if there was even one person in the congregation. That was before e-mail and systems that shoot a message to multiple telephone numbers at once, so it wasn’t as easy to cancel church as it is these days. Still, I don’t think that was his reasoning. Daddy just couldn’t imagine denying anyone the fellowship and spiritual nourishment that comes with worship.

That’s what I missed after the blizzard of 1979. The picture shows my roommate standing in front of my car several days after the blizzard. I was living on the north side of Chicago and attending a church that was a 10-15 minute el (elevated train) ride away. But the el and most of the buses weren’t running, and I certainly wasn’t going to drive.

There was a church about six blocks from my apartment, so I called to confirm that it was still having a service. Then I started walking. No, not walking. I trudged through snow that was higher than my knees. Twenty minutes and two blocks later, I was exhausted. I also realized that church would be over by the time I made it.

I really had no choice but to turn around and go back, and I know that God understood why I wasn’t in church. But I knew something was missing, and I felt the void.

Church renews me and carries me through the week, so if I can make it, I will.

And ten inches is nowhere near enough to keep me away.

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