In preparing the worship service this week, Camper and I were reminded, and in agreement, that worship ought never be a spectator sport; that worship is best experienced and expressed through as much participation of everyone present as possible. That principle had an effect on what we were planning, as we sought to produce a service for a Grace Covenant community scattered, rather than gathered, due to the contagion of COVID-19.
Originally we had planned to video an entire service, and to publish the video on our web page. However, we realized that to produce it this way may not be the best way to serve the Grace Covenant family. A video of others worshiping, while in no way bad or wrong, does tend to promote a more passive experience, rather than an active engagement. So what we have done instead is video portions of a worship service – the music, the message, and the Benediction – and provide tools and simple instructions for folks to use at home. What we hope is that each participating household will have the blessing of engaging in what our Presbyterian tradition calls Family Worship.
We have developed a .pdf worship bulletin (GCPC Worship – March 22, 2020) that can be downloaded and shared with each person in the home. In this worship outline there are simple instructions under each heading, and words to serve as tools for worship. By 8am Sunday morning, March 22, the service outline, with videos embedded for each song and for the message, will be posted on the front page of the Grace Covenant web page, and on the Grace Covenant Facebook page. When it is time for worship simply pull up the page online, follow the worship outline, click on the videos as you come to them. One note, it might be best to designate who will lead each part of the service prior to sitting down to worship together. To do this, simply review the worship outline, note the instruction under each heading, and assign someone to lead that part.
Some may wonder about the unity of our worship done this way. With each household having different people leading the different parts, won’t everyone have different worship experiences? In once sense, it is likely that various people will have different experiences worshiping scattered this way. On the other hand, people have a variety of experiences in worship when we are gathered together. It has a lot to do with God meeting us where we are. However, we are confident that in using the same worship outline, with most hearing the same message from Psalm 42, that there is enough commonality for us to experience a measure of unity as well.
We are mindful that some of our church family live on their own. If you are one living on your own, or if you are part of a family who knows someone living on their own, we encourage you to connect, if possible. Even if you are not able to gather together, perhaps some can connect by phone, or Skype, or Zoom, etc, and worship together, though remote.
Finally, we will be evaluating how things go this week. This is new territory for us. No doubt we will be able to do some things better in the coming weeks – though I pray we are not isolated long enough for us to become experts at this scattered worship. We welcome your thoughts. After you have worshiped this week, feel free to e-mail us about your experiences. We will make adjustments wherever it seems needed.
Grace & Peace,
W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor
Download: GCPC Worship – March 22, 2020