Like many churches across America, mine is holding services via technology. Our pastors and some of the musicians and vocalists record their parts, separately and not in the same room, and then anybody can view the services over YouTube or via the website,Stonybrook.church.org
and never know that it was all done in accordance with social distancing. It looks and sounds like it was one complete service. It’s the next best thing to being there. What we really miss is shaking hands and giving hugs to our friends whom we only see at church and are happy to greet each Sunday morning.
After the service, we have several Sunday School classes, but the one I attend is called Coffee and Conversation. Of all the gatherings of people that have had to be cancelled because of the pandemic, this is the one I miss the most. The purpose is to discuss the sermon and how it relates to our lives, but we often dive even more deeply into our concerns and the mysteries of what God has in mind for us.
While it’s kind of fun to go to church virtually without having to wear more than a sweatshirt over our pajama bottoms, it’s been a challenge for many of us seniors to learn to use the Zoom platform for Sunday School. I had to have a tech guy from Microsoft install it for me, because the instructions looked like they required a college degree in Zoom installation, and then my daughter generously practiced it with me, so I could join in without stress and frustration. My friend Deborah prefers to use her iphone for Zoom, and she graciously tried to teach me, but for me, the lap top seemed a little more consistent in what it was asking me to do with each step. Anyway, I had to smile as the first half of our Sunday School class was spent coaching each other on how to get connected. I suspect that we’ll all get quite good at this over the coming weeks and possibly months.
Other changes in our lifestyles will occur, and some of them are for the good.
For instance, calling a friend or acquaintance occasionally just to see how they are doing or if they need anything, especially if they live alone could do much to improve the mental health of many people who are lonely and feel isolated. Offering to run errands for folks who are elderly or have a disability who can’t drive anymore or pick up medicine or groceries, when the delivery services are swamped, reach the hearts and heal the souls just as much as sitting in a church with others who might be praying for the sick and the lonely, not that there is anything wrong with that. These acts of kindness and love demonstrate what one of our pastors said in a message to us in a daily email devotional. Church has left the building.