Hello, and thank you for clicking through to this video version of our usual weekly eNews here at Kenilworth Union Church. In this time of social distancing, we thought that maybe if you could hear and see me and I could speak to you, it would collapse the distance between us just a little bit.
You’ve maybe been noticing that pundits and opinionators are comparing the social and psychological upheaval over this coronavirus quarantine to the events of 9/11, and many of them are saying that in some ways this is much worse because at least back then, we had each other, right? As soon as those Twin Towers fell, we leapt into each other’s arms and we stayed there, and we were unified. We were one in our opposition against all evil things, and now we’re being told to keep our distance from each other. We can’t even see each other, in some cases. My heart goes out to the residents of retirement facilities who can’t receive visits from their own family.
And so thank you for keeping your connection to your church. Last Sunday morning, March 15, our first streaming-only service, we had about 170 screens click through to the service, and if there are about an average of two people watching every screen, that means that our virtual attendance last Sunday morning was about the same as our physical attendance at worship in this sanctuary every Sunday morning at Kenilworth Union Church. In the days following, about 1200 clicks went through to the YouTube archive, and that’s about as many clicks as we have members. So thank you for keeping that connection, I hope you continue it, because we’re going to be doing it this way for quite a while, at least through Pentecost at the end of May, maybe a lot longer, and this is not the time to drop or alter or surrender your virtuous habit of divine worship every Sunday morning of prayer, praise, and preaching, because we need God more than ever now than we ever did, maybe even since 9/11.
It’s a scary time. There was an article in the Washington Post this morning which pointed out that pandemics are not just physical; they carry with them a sort of shadow pandemic of psychological and societal injury as well. And I resonate with that phrase “shadow pandemic,” because that’s kind of the way I feel right now, and so I frequently remind myself that God is bigger than any shadow pandemic. God is bigger than all of this, and I consult Psalm 61:
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the Earth I call to you, I call to you as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
And I long to dwell in your tent forever and to take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
Or, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it a long time ago, “Fear knocked on the door. Faith answered. There was no one there.”
So may the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace, now and always. Amen.