A Word from the Pastor
May 14th, 2020
As I’ve said in numerous ways over the past few weeks, loving neighbor in a pandemic means we take all the necessary steps to protect them from potentially catching COVID 19. So, we stay home, wear masks, and maintain physical distancing. These actions, coupled with the state’s emergency orders, has meant that we have been only able to gather together in worship by livestream for many weeks. Although the timing of our being able to open the sanctuary again on a Sunday morning is unknown, it will not happen in May and maybe not in June either. Even once we are able to resume at least some “in person” activities, without a vaccine available many may choose to continue to worship electronically rather than return to “in person” worship for a while. This all means that livestreaming will be a very important part of our church’s ministry for a long time to come.
While it is tempting to suggest that we “watch” the livestream service, at it’s best, we don’t so much “watch” worship as we do participate in it even when it is only available by livestream. When you connect with our livestream service I hope that you are not just a spectator but become involved in it – sing along with the hymns, join in the responsive readings, etc. Using the Chat feature that’s part of our livestream is a nice way for you to say “Hi” to the congregation or pass the peace or comment on something in the service that was particularly meaningful. I would also encourage you to prepare the space around the screen you are using to view the service before the service begins. Perhaps light a candle nearby to remind you that God is present. Perhaps put a cross near the screen to remind you of God’s love and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Perhaps put a bowl of water nearby to remind you of your baptism, or a cup to remind you of Jesus’ love for us and God’s commitment to us. Make the space near your screen a space that helps lead you into worship.
While the changes the pandemic has brought to our lives are not necessarily comfortable or fun or easy, what has not changed is God’s love for us and God’s presence with us. Nothing, not even a pandemic, can come between us and God. And so, as we journey though these days and weeks, may we remember that “in life and death we belong to God” and that “with believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As we journey through the coming days, let us also continue to “strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’” (quotes from A Brief Statement of Faith, PCUSA).