For several months at the beginning of the pandemic, my church went totally on-line for worship using Zoom and other social media platforms. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would have such a deep and meaningful sense of unity and belonging as I experienced. We continued to use our same worship format and litany, but there was something very deeply connective in the “being in it together” mentality of that time.
Our building has resumed in-person worship using strict protocols, while maintaining electronic platforms for those still not comfortable worshiping in person due to COVID concerns.
I am almost sorry the building has been re-opened for services because the sense of unity I felt when we were all on-line seems to be missing, for me anyway.
I find myself asking questions like: why am I tithing to keep an essentially empty building maintained when I could be giving it all to boots-on-the-ground charities and missions?
What if worship was a group of people meeting at an elderly person’s house and doing their yard work? What if the church building was repurposed for housing the homeless and giving them responsibilities to clean and keep up the maintenance in exchange for a place to stay? What if we continued to worship online but it looks more like a place of sharing our joys and concerns within a non-judgmental, grace-filled space? How do we do this?
What if the monthly mission focus was weekly and people shared what they did for missions or better yet an interactive bulletin board of needs in the community?
I am concerned that our current church model is no longer a fit for the times in which we are living and that the technology that united us so strongly and which could be used so creatively, is now being taken for granted until we can return to “normal.” I don’t know what to do about any of this other than ask questions.
But it is not just my church with which I am dissatisfied.
In a larger sense, we are being called to do and be differently in every way of doing and being. Unfortunately, people have not been listening—some have, but many have not.
I would not say I am depressed or even alarmed; just a quiet reverence for what is and has been calling through this collective illusion of misbelief and a deep yearning for a vision of something more.