July 23, 2020
On Wednesday night of this week, 64 of us gathered for a different worship experience. We gathered in the north parking lot at the church, socially distanced apart, while wearing masks, and we worshiped God in person, together. Worshiping in person is an experience Calvary has not been able to offer since March of this year. I knew I had missed worshiping with all of you in person but what I could not have really appreciated until we worshiped together again, is how the Spirit moves among us to spark in the moment words while leading worship. I felt this during both parts of the service I led.
The first was during the Prayers of the People. To be able to share the words of those who had gathered was such a gift. Being the one who expressed the prayers shared and to hold them in a shared space reminded me of how important it is to carry each other’s burdens and celebrate in each other’s joys. And while we have found meaningful ways to do this while we worship digitally there was something so tender about being in the moment as those prayers were spoken.
The second was as I offered the Benediction. The Benediction is always meaningful to me as they are the parting words to send folks back to their daily lives. Words that carry a bit of challenge, hope, and love. At service on Wednesday, as I was offering the Benediction, I could speak more directly to those who were there. Knowing a bit about how many were doing and what this time away has been like for them I was able to share a more personalized blessing in the moment. That guidance by the Spirit was such a holy moment for me.
Thankfully the Spirit of God meets all of us during in-person or digital worship! The Spirit is ever moving and present in whatever format worship takes. And one of the ways the Spirit was present for me on Wednesday was being able to see those present, connect with them directly, and bring their lives into the pieces I happened to be leading. Calvary, I am thankful to be able to picture you all as I record my portions of digital worship each week. It is a gift to have you all meet me wherever I’m recording and the Spirit of God connects us in meaningful ways - even while we are apart. I am also grateful that the Spirit of God connected me to the other 63 people who gathered for Worship on Wednesday and allowed for guidance to bring pieces together in personal ways.
These are certainly strange times for church life (among all other areas of life) and I’m so grateful to serve alongside a congregation who is willing to get creative so we can worship together - even if it means we are socially distanced and wearing masks while outside. And, who connects with each other through digital worship and congregational care throughout the week. It is a gift to serve alongside you and to be learning how to worship with you during these new expressions of church.
Thanks be to God for the ways God connects us to one another during these new ways of worship!