Noticings – November 24, 2021


November 24, 2021 

It was kind of surreal. Leading worship in front of actual humans instead of just a camera for the first time in 20 months was a remarkable experience. I will confess to being extremely stressed and anxious about it beforehand. So many details – Will the tech work? Will everyone be ok following the attendance protocols? Will the at-home experience still be as good as it was? It all came together beautifully. A big part of that was that so many people stepped in and made things happen, and I didn’t have to do it! By necessity we’ve been functioning with just a couple people present on Sundays so many of the tasks fell to me. Suddenly, there were others doing them. I arrived ready to print off some bulletins – somebody already did it. I thought I’d have to set up the address lists and check-in tables – already done. I went to adjust something in the worship space – already done. I have to turn on the camera and lights – nope, covered. I had forgotten how wonderful it is to have multiple people pulling together and contributing their piece of the whole to make the whole flow and function better. I guess I forgot what ‘church’ felt like.

I had also forgotten what it was like to hear laughter when I said something amusing in a sermon. The camera doesn’t laugh! But people do! It was glorious to hear. And despite the masks I could tell that people were grinning from ear to ear. You could see it in their eyes. They were just so happy to be back in the sanctuary, worshipping, together (especially the together part). And to hear the voices gently rise in song and praise – it was heavenly.

We still have some things to work out, and over the coming weeks we’ll adapt and change some things about worship as we all figure out how to navigate these new times. I quite like online worship, and I think it has actually enhanced some of the things we do or the ways we do them. But it was indeed wonderful to feel the people in the sanctuary on Sunday. Having done it once I hope I won’t feel so anxious in coming weeks. I imagine it will start to feel ‘normal’ again, just like online felt ‘normal’ after a time. I do hope people will gently give feedback about both their online experience and the in-person experience so we can make them as rich and enjoyable as possible. And in the meantime I will revel in the return of our gathered community of faith. And I’ll especially relish the laughter.

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Rev. Larry