Hosting Sunday worship services has always been something I enjoy. Typically, all those involved that Sunday meet on Tuesday morning to plan the service. We hear the preaching pastor’s main takeaways from the passage and the direction he senses the Lord leading for his sermon. We choose the Call to Worship, Scripture Reading and Worship Songs and consider what announcements need to be made. These Tuesday morning meetings were held in the loft, but now happen over Zoom instead.
I hosted my first livestream service from my home in April. I always enjoy praying over the service ahead of time, remembering what was discussed in the Tuesday planning meeting, listening to the music we’ll sing, generally preparing my heart for serving as host. Then I start writing up some notes and practice running through it a few times. Ray meets with us by Zoom on Thursday afternoons for a brief rehearsal to check our sound, lighting and backgrounds, be sure the computer is tilted correctly so our eyes are in the right space on the screen etc. On Saturday I practiced standing in front of my computer looking into the green light/camera and talking. Clearly hosting by livestream was going to be totally different and I grew nervous. It fully sunk in that you’re going to see me, but I’m not going to see you and it’s going to feel weird! Rehearsing felt flat.
I headed to bed that night feeling prepared but somewhat anxious thinking, “How is this going to look natural when I’m talking to a computer?” Of course, I prayed. Sunday morning dawned, I stood before my computer camera at 7:30 greeted by Ray on Zoom to practice the transitions and be reminded how he would wave his fingers to give me a countdown of 3, 2, 1 each time before I was to start talking. Then I walked around my house waiting for 8:30. Ray then gave me the countdown and just like that, I was live and I started talking to that green light. Immediately I knew you were there, listening! It really felt quite natural and my nerves dissipated almost immediately as I pictured you in the pews.
After my second time hosting the livestream service a couple of weeks ago and pondering this new phenomenon, I was struck by how it reminds me of prayer in two ways. First, I can think about my life and my concerns, run them over and over in my mind, but as soon as I turn from rumination to prayer, I know God is right there listening even though I can’t see Him either. The Living God sees me, hears me and cares for me. Secondly, when we turn from one segment to the next on the livestream, we say something like, “Over to you, James.” Then my part is over. Sometimes when I’m praying now, especially at night, I talk to God about my concerns and then say, “Over to you God.” It helps me release my burdens to him, reminding myself and acknowledging before Him, my part is done. I’ve turned it over to him in prayer, relinquished control to Him. We have an awesome God who teaches us through all kinds of creative means!
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen