These past three months have been unprecedented in the life of the church. Thanks to the communication powers of the internet and the ubiquity of home computing, many of us have shared a faith-based community experience through twice weekly Zoom services. Because of Zoom, some who are far away have been able to join us, while others have been reluctant to sign on to our digitally based worship.
Through all of this there is the persistent question, “When will we return to normal?”
There are two brief answers to that question. The first is that we really don’t know when we will be able to re-open the church to worship. This is because there are many state requirements and many changing variables that we are trying to assess and respond to responsibly and incrementally along with other churches in our diocese. The second answer is that we can’t say for sure what “normal” will look like once we do resume.
People throughout the church are asking questions such as “What role will our Zoom experience continue to play in our church life?” Others are wondering about the return of Morning Prayer as a regular staple in the worshipping life of the church. The strong emergence of Black Life Matters has begun to lead us into new levels of integrating social consciousness into our religious worship.
We want to stay in touch with each other and we want our decisions to be collaborative and informed by concerns for safety and a growing awareness of what it means to be a church. Late in the first century, after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, Judaism had to re-imagine what it meant to be Jewish. In some ways our current crisis is forcing us to reenvision what it means to be Christian and the Body of Christ when we have lost our physical center of worship. Perhaps Jesus anticipates this kind of crisis when he tells the Samaritan woman that there will come a day when it doesn’t matter on which mountain you worship as we come to realize that God is worshipped in spirit and in truth. (John 4:21ff)
Please know that we want to stay in touch and in dialogue as we navigate these strange times. We want to hear from you. We want to seek the guidance of the Spirit, the larger church, the State as it deciphers medical information. Please keep praying for your church and please consider joining us in our Zoom worship as we continue to learn and grow together.