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Down by the Riverside

The Gift of (Virtual) Worship

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25.


This morning I cried at the beginning of the worship service that was live streamed from my church. The pastor, three musicians, and two other leaders from Chelsea First UMC led more than a hundred viewers in worship via Facebook Live.

I didn't expect to react so strongly – I didn't know how hungry I was for comfort and for community. And this is just the second week of quarantine!   

As I sang the first hymn in my living room, I realized that I've taken corporate worship for granted. Obsessed with doing it certain ways, pre-occupied with my own or others' "performance," hyper-critical of my own or others' mistakes, I had forgotten a simple truth: We need worship.

We need to hear the scriptures read aloud by a beautiful human voice. We need to sing songs of faith that lodge spiritual truths deep in our hearts. We need to pray for each other's joys and sorrows and anxieties and fears. We need to be encouraged by one another to obey Jesus' commands and to show love in tangible ways to the people around us.

Thank you, God, for the gift of worship. Thank you for isolation if it reminds me  how much I need others and you. Thank you for the creativity of worship leaders who fashion new ways to praise you. Thank you for how you are at work for good in the world through nurses and doctors and first responders and grocery store workers and so many others we don't even know. Thank you for civic leaders who make difficult decisions for the sake of us all. Give them wisdom and humility and courage as the crisis continues.

Bless and comfort those who are suffering. As we hunker down for the long haul, give us patience and strength and humor and resilience. Make us truly grateful for what we have. By your grace we will make it through; in Jesus' name. Amen.

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