There was an opinion piece that appeared in the New York Times Religion section that ruffled a lot of feathers in the church world: “Why Churches Should Drop Their Online Services.”  Anglican Priest Tish Harrison Warren wrote about embodiment and how Christianity is an embodied religion.  I agree with her there.  Though she went on to say, “Online church, while it was necessary for a season, diminishes worship and us as people.  We seek to worship wholly — with heart, soul, mind and strength — and embodiment is an irreducible part of that wholeness.”

Honestly, this piece made me sad.  Church historian Diana Butler Bass tweeted in response, “How is it NOT ’embodied’ when there are real bodies on the other side of the screen?  Those are human beings on the screen, joining with their bodies via an alternative way of presence.  I don’t leave my body while on Zoom?” 

I noted that concerned responses came from people speaking about what online worship has meant for people who are disabled and/or homebound.  Because don’t people who are ill or immunocompromised or have mobility issues (or live with someone who is vulnerable) deserve to worship?  Or what about LGBTQ+ people who now have a chance to worship online first to make sure a church is actually welcoming before coming in person and possibly facing judgment or even hostility?  What about someone who is simply afraid of being around groups of people indoors because of Covid? 

Some days we are reminded that it’s helpful to consider issues from a perspective that is not necessarily our own in order to understand why some things matter to one another.  As for our church, I am happy that we are livestreaming worship because it feels more inclusive of the whole Body of Christ present in our congregation.  Just because some members and friends of our congregation need to worship with us online, that doesn’t mean that you are any less a part of our church family.  Just because I offered a simple worship service from the parsonage last Sunday due to the blizzard, it doesn’t mean that we weren’t gathered together to worship God.  These are unprecedented times, and wishing that things were back to the way they were before will not make them so.  I joked with Neill as I prepared to lead worship from our home on Sunday morning, long gone are the days when Pastors get a snow day!  And that’s just fine by me.  What I’ve been thinking about this week is that however you join us for worship here at Colchester Federated Church, you are enough and you are loved.

Pastor Lauren 

Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Thursday Thoughts 2/3/22