My husband Mike and I were talking the other day about how much we had learned about filming and lighting and recording broadcast services. We both feel like we have learned a lot. Then he added, that church people at home have probably also learned a lot about how to worship with on line broadcast services. I’ve been thinking about that comment ever since and have been wondering how the learning is going for you at home watching services on your computers and television screens. My husband and I also watch the services together on Sunday mornings in our family room on the big TV. Since Mike is not currently serving a church, he watches one of the Elkhart services with me.
I will admit when we first started doing this, watching worship in our family room did not feel very worshipful. We watch TV in that room. We watch things that entertain us in that room. So to watch worship in that same space felt a little odd. So let me suggest a few things that may help you to engage in worship a little more in the coming weeks. I do think that if we are to do more than “just watch” the service, we worshippers need to be intentional about how we connect to God in this time of worship. Here are some suggestions:
1. Arrive a little early. The prelude or preservice music in worship is designed for quiet meditation. This is a time to settle down and focus on God. Be sure you take advantage of some of that prelude music to set quietly and remember you are a child of God.
2. Feel free to change the atmosphere in your viewing space at the time of worship to let everyone know you are not just watching TV. You have gathered to be with God. Light a candle, lay a cloth on the top of the TV. Set out a religious picture. Gather your communion elements together if it’s a communion day. Think about what can signal to your spirit that it’s time to worship.
3. Sing the hymns or songs! If you feel self-conscience singing alone or with just your spouse or small family gathering, turn up the music at this point to give you more singing sound around you. Sing with gusto and think about the words as you sing.
4. Avoid evaluating the “performance.” We do this in church too and it is unproductive to worship. We say to ourselves or the person sitting next to us, “that was a great sermon” or “someone is singing off key” or “the scripture reader has a cold.” I think this becomes even more of a temptation when we are looking at a TV screen or computer screen. We marvel at a cool graphic, or notice the sound is off on someone’s mic, or that the camera is adjusted wrong on someone’s face. Remember, this is your time to be with God. Don’t let the production take your mind off your Father in Heaven.
5. Pray with the prayers. Close your eyes, fold your hands and be still. Let the words wash over you and don’t hesitate to stop the service and pray longer by yourself if you want to. Make that remote work for you!
6. Be sure you have a conversation with your worship companions to set the ground rules for worship. If your companion wants to chit chat through the service that may not be helpful to your desire to be with God at this time. Be sure you express your needs.
Worship is ultimately a time to be with God and be in conversation with God. Approach worship with an open heart and listen for what God might be trying to say to you through this set aside time. Then take a moment to express thanks, to let your needs be known to God and to drink in the peace of the Lord’s peace.
“See you” in church,
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