It’s a miracle, if you think about it – that while we are staying at home, seemingly standing still, the seasons keep moving ahead. If you’ve been outside recently (which I hope you have), you’ve seen how crocuses are starting to pop up in gardens and forsythia plants are starting to grow golden. Even though we’re stuck inside, spring is still springing!
The same is true for the liturgical seasons, of course. Even though we haven’t been “in church,” we have continued to move through the weeks of Lent. This week, we find ourselves standing on the threshold of Holy Week. So how will we keep the practices of this sacred time together?
As we’ve worshiped together these past few weeks – trying live streaming, pre-recorded worship, and combinations of both – we’ve learned what works best for different kinds of worship, and what works best for our community. For example, while Facebook Live has been a wonderful tool for streaming the Daily Office live in the morning, it hasn’t been very reliable for Sunday worship. Also, we know that some members of our parish don’t use Facebook, and if we limit our worship to that one site, we’re losing the participation of some members of the Body of Christ. We also know that even if we hired a professional film crew (which we haven’t) and were able to worship in truly beautiful holy spaces (which we aren’t), we will not be able to reproduce the profound wonder and holiness of the liturgies of the coming week online.
And so we have crafted something else – a series of Home Liturgies for Holy Week. These liturgies, which will be available online, via email, and on our Facebook page, are intended for you to use in your homes, with your family. They take some of the vital parts of each liturgy and translate them into house worship. The requirements for these liturgies are simply and homely – a candle, a simple meal, a reader, a branch from your garden. While we can’t incorporate everything from these liturgies into this home worship – remember, we are still living without Holy Communion these days – we have been able to craft liturgies that will provide the opportunity for all of us to move through these holy days and to allow their gifts to work on us, increasing our faith, hope, and love.
You can participate in these liturgies in multiple ways. You could choose to pray these liturgies together as a family in your home. You could choose to pray these liturgies together with your wider family, inviting friends or family members to join you via the online conferencing app of your choice. And even if you worship yourselves – at whatever time works best for you and yours – you can still log on to our YouTube page to hear the choir offerings for each liturgy.
You could also choose to join with your Atonement family at 11:00 am via a Zoom conversation, where we will pray this liturgy together through our computers. Please see the announcements below for more information about Zoom and for the invites for Sunday morning. We especially invite you to join this conversation if you are living alone, or if you’re feeling disconnected from your neighbors and your pewmates at Atonement. We hope this will be a way for you to have family worship even if you are currently separated from your family. We will be recording it and posting it on our social media sites later in the day.
We know that these liturgies are not what we’re used to. We know that they’re not even what we’re hoping for. But they are what our love for neighbor is requiring of us this year, and as such, they must be blessed by God, they must be a chance for us to experience Grace in a way we never have before. I look forward to seeing many of you on Zoom, or hearing about your own family worship, in this Holy Week at Home.
May God bless us all in these holy days.