It’s been an unsettling few weeks, to say the least. While my husband led worship on Sunday, I opted to stay home with my two children. Between the swirling news of covid-19 cases increasing by the day and worry for my neighbors with compromised immune systems, the kids and I are keeping close to home. With the number of churches already cancelling in person worship this past weekend we were not at a loss for an opportunity to worship from our living room.
A little before 10 o’clock the kids and I cuddled on the couch with my laptop set on a coffee table in front of us. On the screen I recognized the familiar faces of friends leading worship states away in Milwaukee. The singers warmed up and the musicians practiced Amazing Grace. My kids grabbed their trains and books and kept playing with the music floating through our living room.
Pastor David Dragseth of Lake Park Lutheran Church reflected on the varied and many rooms we all were in during the live stream of the service. At one time I could see that 100 people were watching. I tried to imagine the other families worshipping as I was: single parents, grandparents, college students home for an undetermined amount of time, those living alone, military, and so many more. I thought of all the feelings and emotions present: worry, fear, uncertainty, sadness. In my small living room in Central Missouri I felt connected to hundreds of people – bound by our shared desire to hear God’s word for us in these days and to give thanks for the body of Christ that transcends time and place.
From my couch I sang along to familiar hymns, heard the Gospel, prayed, and gave thanks. My children watched at times and continued playing as well. But we were together.
I don’t know what the next few days will bring, no one does, but I do know that I feel less alone even amid the call to remain at a distance from others. I see friends reaching out via phone, text, and letters. I see neighbors offering to pick up food for the elderly. I see families watching kids out of school. I see organizations providing food. I see prayers being shared, Bible studies hosted, and worship all taking place online.
The news keeps hurling new information and guidelines by the hour, but the good news remains: God’s love is with us. The presence of Christ surrounds us and offers us light. The light is still shining; here’s to being that light for a world in need.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website or follow her work on Facebook.