I am creating an online journal during the Coronavirus social distancing so I can look back and remember how my thoughts and actions might change during this time. This is Day Two.
Sunday, March 15
At first, I was resistant to the idea of online church.
It’s not that I have anything against using technology to attend church when I’m not able to attend in person. I’ve actually done this several times during the past few months.
It’s just that it felt like once the governor announced that people should avoid meeting in groups of more than 250, that churches were going overboard to try to create the most amazing online experience. “I don’t need to be entertained,” I was thinking. “I’m perfectly capable of worshipping God, reading my Bible and praying with my family. I don’t need an interactive online experience.”
But when the time came that we would normally be heading to church, I was really starting to feel a longing to worship with other people in my community. We gathered around the TV, and decided to join a church near our home that we’ve been visiting the past few months. I typically write notes from the sermon and doodle during the message. So it seemed OK to upgrade my doodling to include watercolors and paint during our first pandemic church service. We might as well make this a creative experience, right? Plus, I think God is OK with watercolor painting.
I might have enjoyed going to online church a little bit too much. We didn’t have to get dressed or rush to get there on time. Our family gathered in the living room in our PJs. Our puppy was able to join us. We drank coffee and painted.
It also opened my eyes to how this massive move to online church could have some side effects, both positive and negative. First of all, as we scrolled through all of the churches that were going live, you could see a big difference in the ones that have been doing this for years already, versus those that were suddenly plunged into figuring it out. If I don’t like the line-up of songs at my church’s worship service or if their audio isn’t quite good enough, no problem! I can just switch to a different church!
On the other hand, I saw the huge potential for people to virtually attend church for the first time or to go back to church. I noticed one of my friends was “visiting” the church I was attending. I sent her a text to say, “Hello!”
In the end, it was good to gather together with other believers and worship in community, even if it was through a television screen. It made me feel a sense of peace to see people I know leading worship and preaching the sermon.
We are living in amazing days that technology is allowing us to stay connected in this way, even during a time with so much physical distance between us.