My Virtual Church Experience

Written by Tjaart van Zyl

It is Sunday 3 May 2020. Lockdown level 4 is in full swing. It is 9h27. The flatscreen is counting down the minutes to 9h30. Its time for church.
Virtual church.
Church is not a building. We are the church.
That was the topic of discussion with the occupants of those who share our bunker the previous night. My mom shares the bunker. "I still feel the need to sit IN church. In my own spot. Where I know I will see those "bekendes" around me. My church people." (She is a congregant of the NG Church in Kabega Park for the last 45 years) "Ja but at least Ma saves on 'kollekte' these days" I retort with the aim to stir. "Twice! Once in the service and once at the door!" I stir further " En gee en gee en gee" I end off my stirring as I see that her knuckles are white around the handle of her knife and I am in reach. She composes herself: "Die NG Kerk was nog net goed vir my. En die jong domineetjie preek so mooi!" "Ya but in my church you are allowed to take from the "kollekte bord" if you feel the need" I aim one last stir.

Back to Sunday the countdown has reached the last 30 seconds. Children stumble from their rooms. Still in their pajamas Duvets and cushions in tow. My mom has been sitting (on my chair) for the last 15 minutes waiting for the service to start. Hazel brings in some coffee and muffins which Andrea made the previous night and place it all on the coffee table. We are ready for virtual church.

As Tiaan kick's off the service I lean over to my mom "Het ma die kollekte onthou?" "Watse kollekte?" she frowns. "Ons vat kollekte in en stuur dit dan vir die kerk" I whisper. At that point I jump up "Tickets please kollekte asseblief" I hold my old Springbok hat as the "kollekte bord". The kids now half awake slaps the hat down. Hazel laughs. My mum obliges. R 100 goes into the hat. I sit down. "And now?" She looks over to my wallet and back at me. I only have a R200 note. But as part of this charade, it goes into the hat.
Tiaan and the band are giving a perfect rendition and virtual church is in full swing....As virtual church wraps up and duvets and cushions get dragged back to the room. My mum enquires: " Wat van deur kollekte?" I again hold out the hat to her. To my surprise she takes out the R300 from the hat bends down and puts it in her handbag. "You know what I like about your church." By this stage I have no chirp to offer in return. "It generously gives back. Anyone for more coffee?" It was more or less at that stage that I realized that I should have taken some change when I earlier placed my 200 in the "kollekte bord".