Guitar strings, silent, strung
Across an empty floor.
Stopped with cobwebs.
All locked, all empty.
Bibles stowed away.
Spiderwebs in the pulpit,
And floors forgotten
By human feet.
Dirt on the windows.
Dust on the shelves.
Silence rings, not bells
And only insects hear.
Unless our hearts are shut and locked,
And our voices are silent,
Unless our lights are snuffed out,
And our eyes are shut with fear,
The inner sanctums of our hearts have gone cold,
And we’ve clogged the valves of kindness,
There is church today.
Instead of making excuses,
We make a way in the desert
Instead of stockpiling,
We give of God’s heart
And we wash our hands of bacteria,
But we don’t wash our hands of our neighbours.
And we might wear our masks,
But our eyes are wide open.
Church is now.
© 2020 Charis Noviskie. All rights reserved
Well, we’re stuck inside our houses
With the people we claim to know and love best
And now, with televisions, laptops or radios tuned in
We discover something called worship, online.
And it’s not the same
Weird without the coloured lights
The sound of a hundred speakers
And people—hundreds or more—just beside
There’re no dimmed lights
Instead we have dizzy sunlight,
Gleaming through familiar frames
And tinny sounds from only one speaker
A couple of people—family
And nowhere else to go
The sounds of family nearby
We can hear every breath
And the exact way that they might sing
And the sound of clothes rustling
No more big, dark, comfy spaces to throw loud voices into
No more forests of raised arms to secure our own hands
No more dimmed lights to hide expression
My soul is vulnerable
In a different way than before
Can I still worship in such a way?
When the world,
The people around me
Refuse to fade away?
When even closing my eyes seems wrong
And engaging is suddenly so much harder
Because I can hear the kids next door playing
And construction down the street
Somebody laughing too loud
I can hear cars and sirens and neighbours
And I can hear dishes clanging in the kitchen
I can smell the spices of home food
I am too distracted to worship!
But all these distractions
Aren’t they just the simple things that were always there?
That we’ve forgotten in spectacle—lights, crowds, stages
Maybe I am learning to appreciate
The copious aroma of life
Spicy, sweet, tangy
Salty, savoury, tender flavour
The taste and touch and feel of life--
In everyday moments
I can no longer block out
That the people around me are more precious than spectacles
And that God can be worshipped by us too
Together, in a way that doesn’t deny
This rich aroma
Of our everyday lives
Now I share with God
The kitchen cooking, dishwashing, couch-sitting, pillow-fighting,
Debating, laughing, crying, smiling,
Pet projects, pet peeves
The smell of home-cooked food
My everyday life
Because God loves to see life
© 2020 Charis Noviskie. All rights reserved.