My parents are nearly 90. For the past 85 years, at least, they have made their way to a church building near them to worship with others and to Break Bread in obedience to our Lord’s instruction. I well remember, as a teenager, questioning why we had to take our Sunday suits on holiday so that we could be at the morning meeting in Fort William, and then the Gospel meeting in Inverness – that’s the measure of their desire to meet with the Lord’s people around the table.
So the world has been turned upside down for them this week – what could they do? Their own Fellowship is still thinking about a credible response – understandably because the changes have been drastic and rapid over the last week. I invited them to join our gathering this morning. The church I’m part of is using Zoom as a way of gathering, so that we can all see and hear each other, and we can all participate in our gathering. Mom and Dad accepted the invitation and turned up. On age grounds they were beaten hands down by a 92 year old sister who has been hiding her tablet under a bushel for the past 12 months (she loved it, incidentally, and was the first to arrive to chat with others, and almost the last to leave). We had BYO bread and fruit juice to hand, and we had to make our own refreshments at the end of the formal meeting, but the gathering continued for some time afterwards.
I received an email from Dad before lunch, and he’s happy for me to reprint below, for your encouragement …
Thank you again for your invitation to join your Morning Service, on-line, during our time of self–isolation. We found the experience ’real’ in the sense that you could both see and hear everybody present and could speak to them as you would in a room anywhere. The operational process seemed easy as well, with the facility to mute and/or blank your own camera as necessary an added help. The whole experience was we think , the nearest you could get to being together without the anxiety of cross infection in the current circumstances. It was not a ‘technical’ experience either; once the initial fear of ‘pressing the wrong button’ was overcome, one could share in the content and atmosphere of the meeting in exactly the same way as we have hitherto. We were left with the awareness that we had met with the Lord and His people and shared in worship with them. Thank you so much.
I would like to know more of the technical set-up with a view to my own church using this means to ‘gather together in His name’ during the present Covid-19 crisis.
Dad & Mom.
Buildings are just buildings. We can be church in the current climate and it’s more important now than ever to reach in and to reach out. More on the technologies being employed as people get writing.
Neil Walker is semi-retired, and currently pretty busy helping folks to be church, including his local fellowship, where he is an elder.