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Live - Monday Musing, November 30, 2020

Dear Church,

Live. Since we launched our live streaming, I have been thinking about the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?” Yesterday’s worship, recorded last Wednesday, was a test-run of our new equipment. Starting this Sunday (December 6), in-person worship will commence, physically distanced and following strict protocols (a reservation is required). Our worship will also be live streamed, so it will (almost) feel like you are in the sanctuary, but from the safety of your home.

Paralleling the question above, as our worship is live streamed, how will we know you are there? I have thought about this for the past six months as we have prerecorded our worship and posted it online. Worship is designed to be a participatory event, not a spectator sport. Let me know what you think of our new process.

In my message yesterday, I challenged us to be open to new ways of being the church in a year that a global pandemic has taken the wind out of our sails. Live streaming is certainly a new way of worshiping, but how can we BE the church differently than we have been in the past? Writing to the Jews in exile, the prophet Isaiah says: “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (43:18-19, NRSV)

There are numerous references in scripture about setting aside “former things.” Is COVID-19 a modern version of the Babylonian exile? If so, these words call us to look forward, not back. The season of Advent offers us the opportunity to see things differently, to change. Brian Bantum writes, “The change that Christ calls us to is not a change of belief but a transformation of who we imagine ourselves with or for – and the lengths we are willing to go to make that community possible.” (CC, 10/21/20, p 51)

As we start our new thing – worshipping online live – may we perceive God’s active presence working in and through us as we make our way in the wilderness.




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