We’ve seen many signs of hope coming in these lockdown days. It isn’t all gloomy news and events. This is true at Church as well as in the world beyond church.
Ever since the first lockdown nearly a year ago every day at 5pm members of our Church have led Vespers at 5pm on our Facebook page. Ten people take turns to prepare and record Vespers. I’ve been so encouraged by their faithfulness and dedication to this task.
Their good work has led to fruitful results. Today at least nine people joined us for Vespers at 5pm and more listened in later in the evening, presumably at a more convenient time for them. Some people join in the prayers on an almost daily basis while others come from time to time. It is clear that a community of people joined together by this time of prayer has formed. Some know one another, some have found us and are happy to join in – so in a way its rather like our ‘physical’ church.
Its worth reflecting, though, that ‘attendance’ is higher than would be at 5pm in Church. Of course the two acts of worship are not directly comparable, and we’d always wish to say as christians of a Catholic tradition, that physical presence and the sacraments are central to our christian lives.
‘Virtual Vespers’ adds to what we offer God and one another. It is undoubtedly spiritually enriching for many, a place to connect with God, and with God’s people at St Chrysostom’s and beyond.
This time of prayer over the months has grown in its ‘following,’ and is a blessing to many, myself included. I don’t know what a post pandemic Church will look like. Inevitably there will be changes. One change which I hope for St Chrysostom’s is that in some way we will continue a regular time of worship, like our online 5pm daily Vespers, in the months and even years to come.