What does a bad day at work look like for you? It means different things for different people, and the stakes are higher for some than others. A teacher having a bad day can confuse many young minds for the rest of their lives. A carpenter having a bad can mean that that wall will never look quite right. A surgeon having a bad day can mean someone’s knee bends the wrong way. A bus driver having a bad day can make the lead on the evening news.
I had a bad day in worship last Sunday morning, making 10:30 – 11:30 one of the longest hours of my life. Due to technical difficulties that took more than half the service to rectify, you may have had tolerable audio at home, but no visuals beyond the live feed of what was happening in the room—which may have seemed quite reasonable. If that was your experience well and good—and be glad you joined us via livestream.
Meanwhile, back in the sanctuary, I was striving to orchestrate worship while not knowing if—or when—we would have the graphics of hymn lyrics and the like that allow people to participate fully in worship. As I tried to figure out how much to tread water and when to plod forth, I was watching the chaos in the back of the room as Tracy was working with the video technician to go through checklists and see what was amiss while calling for assistance which eventually allowed us to resume operations as normal. (Nothing to see here, folks; go on about your worship!)
I cannot remember when I have been so relieved to conclude a worship service by saying, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” as I was last Sunday. Was it the end of the world: of course not. I did feel keenly aware that anyone tuning in—as well as those in the room—were not getting what they needed to enter fully into the praise and worship of God, and I regret that. Could I have changed anything once worship began—no! Can we make some process improvements to guard against such a fiasco in the future: indeed we can, and shall!
I will reiterate what I have said before: even when COVID-19 is relegated to the past tense, we will still offer worship online as well as in-person, even though it complicates what goes on in the preparation and execution of a worship service. We have increased our reach and accessibility significantly since the pandemic began and to return to in-person worship alone would be a monumental disservice to those who now think of Holy Cross as their church home, whether or not they have ever entered the room.
My takeaway from last Sunday morning is the old phrase: Keep on keepin’ on. That is what I was left to do as technical difficulties beyond our control played out in front of me. From what I have been told, that tactic was effective in keeping people tuned in despite the glitches.
That is probably a good saying to intone frequently during Advent, as we look for the coming of Christ amid all the pain and injustice in the world: Keep on keepin’ on. Let us put one foot in front of the other as we seek to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with God; if we do, all will work out because we are not alone. After all, this is the season of Emmanuel: God with us!
Grace to you and peace,