This morning, while I was drinking my first cup of tea, I attended the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (virtually!), and watched as they inducted their new Moderator. There were only about seven people in a room which is usually occupied by hundreds, and all the congratulations where on-line, but, despite the pandemic, they found a way to be church.
Scotland is shut-down, much as we are, and like us, the churches in Scotland have found new ways to be church when we can’t use our buildings. The ceremony wasn’t what they’d always done, the Assembly wasn’t what the new Moderator had anticipated. Like this year’s high school & college grads, this special moment in the sun was not to be.
But there was something else, and it did the job. Stripped down to the essentials, and live-streamed online, people participated from all over Scotland, and instead of being silent in their seats, filled the chat box with their good wishes. In some important ways, people were able to participate more effectively than when they were right there in the room.
“New occasions teach new duties” wrote James Russell Lowell and for sure we’re in a new occasion. So, what are we learning? What new things have we been pushed into, things that we’re beginning to think will be part of our future? And we’re not finished yet.
Someday there will be a reality that will be more like what life was before this year. Someday, we’ll sit down to big family dinners, and watch the Fourth of July fireworks while sitting in a baseball park. Someday we’ll be back in church, singing our hearts out. But that’s not the reality we’re living in right now. Right now we’re living in a reality which looks and feels quite different. So, what are we learning? We’re learning that if we want to see our grandchildren, we need to figure out how to use that iPad or smartphone or Kindle. We’re learning that we can actually have good meetings on Zoom and removing all the stress of travel to the meeting can actually make it possible for more people to participate. We’re learning that we can worship online and it can feel like real worship. And we’re learning that it’s vitally important for us to be with one another. Virtual works, but real is going to be better.
What are you learning about in this time? What lessons will you take forward into our tomorrows? Take note of what you see, how you feel, and what you’ve discovered that you would never have known otherwise.
And enjoy this wonderful weather – a gift to the soul for today!
Easter blessings, Pastor Virginia