Today I served as lector for the Palm Sunday mass at our church. This wasn’t unusual, as I have been the lector for this particular mass many times in the past. The unusual part came as I was reading to an almost completely empty church. (Only Father T., another lector, and four members in the choir loft were there with me.)
While this was unusual as masses go, it is the new “normal” for those seeking to take part in celebrations of faith as we seek to stay afloat in the Coronavirus pandemic.
The news of our church broadcasting via Facebook Live may not be headline news, but I believe the impacts of social media-shared services across the globe provides a groundbreaking new definition for “Where 2 or 3 are gathered…”
Matthew 18:20 New International Version (NIV)
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
I know there have been times when church attendance was low and often there are only a handful of parishioners at any one service. The unique element of the social media-shared services is that the two or three in church are joined in spirit and faith by hundreds, maybe thousands, in their homes. The words, actions, prayers, and petitions are all being shared simultaneously via the world wide web.
While this terrible pandemic has separated us in many ways, it has fueled a more powerful need to share our connections with others. We seek to find comfort in gathering, learning, and healing as a faith family. We want to be formally joined as a flock with a leader who loves us. We have now witnessed the power of what seeing 2 or 3 gathered looks like and inspiration is flowing from the desire to keep that devotion growing.
While we must be content with gatherings of 2 or 3 (at most 10) now, we can rejoice in the knowledge that there are many ways we can continue to share our beliefs with others. Please continue to show kindness in the interactions you can make and let use of letters, phone calls, text messages, emails, and videos be a way to broadcast continued support and connections with others. Where you share your love with 2 or 3, God is most definitely there.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. I know church wasn’t full of people, but I never felt alone in the open spaces. My heart was full knowing that there were so many more than 2 or 3 praying with me today.