But I'm very much in favor when the roads are bad or we are traveling, that we can plug into our church's eservice to worship in real time, or to watch it later in the day. It is a blessing. But it is just not the same as sitting beside a young family jiggling a baby whose soft mews are only loud to a mother or father's ear, or an older couple who sit with shoulders touching and glancing with smiles at each other, or the person who is touched so deeply by the music, prayers or message that the tears just keep falling.
I suppose I am odd because for me the best church services are the ones where I get a little lost following a new thought, am made a little uncomfortable by a pastor who is passionate about prying people out of their comfort zone to be the hands and feet of God, have to stretch a little to keep up with a worship song I don't know well, but whose words bring comfort or joy or challenge. I'm less enthusiastic about trying to meet enough people to feel that church is a place of welcome and launching pad for ministry. (No matter how nice you are to me on Sunday morning, it is just not the same as knowing to ask if your Mom is doing better or your PT is helping or your child is excited about music camp, so yes, getting to know folks is important and largely lost when I'm singing along at home.)
I'm glad that volunteering for choir or food distribution, attending Bible study groups and prayer groups, signing up to mentor local students or visit shut-ins are all good and I thank God I have the health to do that. But I also hope that as folks find life narrowing with encroaching frailty or moves to be nearer family they make use of the broadcast services, praying for the preacher and the choir, praying for the folks in the pews and others that they have worshiped and served with in the past. I hope they can remember to continue being the hands and feet of God in the lives of medical staff and family members. I hope they know God has not forgotten them, and that God awaits with joy their arrival to the next part of the journey.
Today as I sit in the pew at Sunday services, I'll make it a priority to lift up in prayer each of those who are watching from afar.