Since the advent of COVID-19, in common with everyone else, we started to use technology to worship, meet and connect.
One of our early learnings was that midweek liturgy was also a way to stay together, pray and interact. Once a week we meet for Mattins and Compline. On any given evening parishioners from Surrey, Langley, North Vancouver, Chilliwack, and Vancouver Island gather for ten minutes to close out the day with God and one another praying Night Prayer. I deeply value these occasions and know that those who attend also appreciate and enjoy such opportunities.
The second week of January we had an added bonus. One of our parishioners is visiting family in another part of the world. This is nothing new; at funerals and other worship services we often connect with other countries. My mother regularly attends both Sunday and midweek worship from the UK. But Monday was wonderful because as the Hollywood Squares opened (once the rector realized he was in the wrong meeting) there was our friend joining us as she often does, only this time from Australia, where it was already Tuesday afternoon.
Part of what it means to follow Christ is about connection. Until three years ago we totally took for granted that we could attend church every week, providing our health or infirmity permitted. And suddenly our churches were closed but technology allowed many of us to stay together. There are limitations, we know that when Arabic is your first language, listening to the rector babble on in English is not the same as attending rosary or the Eucharist where the shape of the liturgy, the gestures of the liturgy, and the bread and wine, speak without words. That said, to see someone join us for the intimate service of Compline from across the world, to share with us the sun and gently flowing trees behind her, was a special moment. As we greeted one another, the visitor from down under was a precious, God given moment.
Covid has deprived people of their loved ones, their freedoms and limited all our lives. Yet technology has opened new doors and connected us in ways we didn’t know much about three years ago. My mother hadn’t been able to worship with me since she attended our daughter’s wedding and our granddaughter’s baptism nearly six years ago. Now we talk on the phone and then she comes to church every Sunday. And someone visiting family from Australia can come to Compline on Monday before she cooks her Tuesday evening meal. What a gift that gives on giving.
ID:507831200 Photo Credit: Highwaystarz-Photography