This evening, we are gathering with our local ecumenical brothers and sisters in worship. These Lenten gatherings happen every year, usually preceded by a simple supper before worshiping together. One of the eight churches hosts and a preacher from another church offers the sermon. The freewill offering supports a local nonprofit. The evenings allow us to see the broader movement of Christ in our community, remind ourselves of the wideness of God’s mercy, and inspire a sense of community and fellowship.
Of course, in the midst of a pandemic, things look a little different. Instead of seeing each other’s worship spaces, we are getting to see each other’s virtual worship spaces (Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). Instead of seeing faces over a meal, we are feasting strictly on the Word of God. In some ways, we could see the gatherings as “less than,” lacking all the things we love about community. But for me, it has been a tremendous blessing to see how we are all in this together – all finding our own ways through technology, all seeking to be closer to Christ in the midst of this chaotic time. Tonight, I am “preaching,” though technically, I prerecorded my sermon last week. Our time of recording – with just three of us in the room, and two others on Zoom – was a tender invitation into the space where their community has been making it work for months.
If you do not have plans tonight, or for the next several Wednesdays through Holy Week, consider yourself invited to virtual worship with the Upper James City County Ministerium. On a basic level, it will give you a chance to pray, worship, and hear a good word each Wednesday. On a deeper level, it may help you get out of your comfort zone with an unfamiliar style of worship or a theologically different perspective on scripture. But on an even deeper level, it will remind you of how widely we are all connected during this strange, seemingly disconnected time. It is my hope that you experience a glimpse into the magnitude of how the Holy Spirit is doing some incredible work during this time that can often feel absent of God. You are invited to come and see a different perspective!