How to worship when we are at distance? How to be a church when we cannot even have coffee with a friend, or go work out, or lift a green beer with each other tonight (if one’s Lenten discipline allows)? The Body of Christ of which we are all an organic part has, embedded in it’s cellular memory, the profound experience and answers from generations of our Christian forebears available for our benefit. We’ve been here before friends, we’ve seen this movie! So here are a few pointers in no particular order because I consider them all to be vitally important to our spiritual health, no more so than now!
- The domus ecclesia! Before Christianity was legalized by the first Byzantine Emperor Constantine in the 4th century (stay awake please!), Christian faith was nurtured covertly in caves, ports, military tents, and even underground catacombs. Yes we worshipped in tombs because no one else wanted to hang out down there! The original first churches were not great basilicas or cathedrals but private homes large enough to host groups of believers. The church of the home is all the church we need! Your apartment, condo, home or cabin is a church because you believe!
- The 1979 Book of Common Prayer! Our Anglican patrimony, or to decode, our Episcopalian foundation is the heritage, atmosphere and worship vocabulary of the Book of Common Prayer. You were given one when you joined ECOT, or just look here or here. The BCP is a treasure trove of personal prayers, particularly in the Daily Office section and the Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families at various times of the day. Easy and wonderful to pray!
- On-Line Resources! Now voluminous due to the current restrictions, we can help sift through the options. I divide into two sections of resources:
- Episcopalian BCP on-line prayer resources. The first is our own Mother Emily’s current Facebook Live daily Morning Prayer early and Compline later, available here. Turn up the volume on the early edition! Emily will be offering these daily, thank you Emily! Another staff favorite is a updated Daily Office worship featuring Morning and Evening Prayer (longer for sure but super good quality) or Noontime Prayer with other options here. I always pray or listen to what I need to but never feel like I have to pray or listen to every hymn. And the Episcopal Church in Colorado has a plethora of very easy links to webcasts, daily prayers and scripture readings, and livestreaming Daily Office worship all available for your consideration here.
- Other On-Line Prayer Resources. I personally enjoy the daily Jesus Calling daily devotional available here. For others the variety of options for devotionals available at BibleGateway here is helpful. Pick a name you recognize or try someone new for a bit to see whether or not they uplift you. For those of a more progressive theological persuasion please see Richard Rohr’s daily meditation sign-up here. Ask any of us for more suggestions or opinions on any daily devotional on-line resource.
Brothers and sisters I will repeat myself over these coming weeks….we may be isolated but we are never alone in the Body of Christ! We are socially distanced to slow the spread of this contagion but we are spiritually united in an enduring and intimate bond no virus can invade! I challenge us all to:
- Choose one new prayer or devotional platform as a new habit of Christian living this Lent, and make it a daily commitment to pray with it.
- Intentionally include our church family in those daily prayers, lifting us all up for God’s highest and best purposes in these days.
- Let us know where, how and when you are praying and how it’s going! Check in with us as we want to hear from you! Text, voice or email…we are here for you!