From the Pastor's Pen
I’m thankful to still have the opportunity to offer a service of worship from the church. Not all my colleagues have that luxury. We are all making the best of what we have available to us, working within limitations that are both technological and skill-related. I have friends offering beautiful opportunities for worship from pulpits, from lakesides, from dining room tables, and from living room couches.
We aren’t doing this to compete with each other.
We aren’t doing this to show off our homes.
We aren’t doing this to show off our homiletical and liturgical prowess.
We are doing this to give you an opportunity to worship in a way that is meaningful, engaging, and transformative.
And we are doing the best we know how.
We do better when we hear from you.
That’s true every Sunday, but it’s easier to hear from you when we’re congregating in the same place. Often, the way you respond in the midst of worship tells us a lot about how effective a certain practice or exercise is. But now that our responses are all either virtual or confined to the privacy of your home, what Phil and Betty and I need are direct comments from you.
We have to be very intentional in our communication right now.
So let me offer you a glimpse into what’s swirling around in my head as I design worship.
I hate watching videos online. Hate it. Something on a screen had better be pretty doggone engaging for me to stay tuned. So what I’m trying to do is eliminate any fluff we might enjoy in our worship in a shared physical space. I rank that with advertisements when I’m watching something online. That’s exactly the point at which I shut the video down.
I’m trying to make sure that anything we do in our online worship is something I’d be comfortable doing in my home. I don’t want to offer a video you’re just going to watch. I want to offer a worship experience you’re going to participate in. I want you to sing along. I want you to read along. I want you to respond. I want you to be engaged.
I want everything to make sense together. Phil Haga is excellent at selecting hymns that tie into the theme of the texts and the season. I am enormously thankful for his gifts. They are especially important right now, as is offering other liturgical elements that make sense on that particular day.
That’s what we’re trying to do. We want to offer an experience of worship online that is helpful to you, that you’ll tune into, that is engaging. If you tune out or shut the window down, I’ve lost the opportunity to be a vessel of God’s Spirit that could transform you and the community around you. I want to minimize the chance of that shut down happening.
So now, with the rush of Holy Week and Easter Sunday over, as we transition into the greater Season of Easter and move toward Pentecost, I need to hear from you. I need to know what makes you tune in and what makes you tune out. I need to know what you’re comfortable doing at home. I need to know what will make this experience more engaging.
Phil and Betty and I — and the Berg tech crew — are doing everything we can. Now we need your help.
Help us make our time of social distancing transformative for everyone. Help us be clear and flowing vessels of God’s Spirit. Help us bring the Body of Christ together.