This Sunday I experienced a new first. My essay, “I Am Afraid/I Am Not Afraid” was featured in a sermon given at my Unitarian Universalist church by my minister, Angela Herrera. She had contacted me a few weeks before, complimenting the essay, and asking permission to refer to it in an upcoming sermon. I said yes, gladly, and felt honored. The upcoming sermon was a special one. Our church has been meeting virtually over Zoom since March of 2020 but on Sunday September 12th of 2021 the church was going to have its first in-person service since the pandemic began. The sermon she was working on was about “embracing possibility” and was going to be given twice on this special day — once during the 9 a.m. Zoom service and once during the 11 a.m. in-person service.
Our family chose to attend the Zoom service. We don’t feel like we’ll be ready to rejoin everyone in person until our nine year old son is vaccinated and Covid numbers go down in our area. But a part of me longed for the experience of going to the in-person service, of seeing everyone in real life, of being inside the church’s sanctuary with its lovely mural. I know the first time we’ll return in person I’ll cry with the joy of it, and a part of me wished that day could be on September 12th.
That day wasn’t September 12th, but in a way it feels like it was. The sermon opened and closed by referencing my essay, and a couple paragraphs were quoted directly. I wasn’t in the sanctuary this past Sunday, but my words were. That means a lot to me. I’m so glad that a part of me was there, in that large light room full of people with love in their hearts.