Zoom worship windows, Facebook watch parties, YouTube gatherings, and more have become sacred spaces.
Virtual worship. What an unusual and intriguing phrase, one that has made its way into my everyday vocabulary. Covid-19 has not been able to stop faith communities from worshiping together in spirit and truth–in safe and socially distanced ways. Zoom worship windows, Facebook watch parties, YouTube gatherings, and more have become sacred spaces.
And I am impressed and energized by the diverse and creative ways religious leaders and communities are continuing to worship together.
Most intriguing to me has been how communities are keeping worship music alive. With determination and emerging technical skills, choir leaders, pastors, and musicians are learning create virtual choirs using a wide array of techniques and digital platforms. In spite of and through Covid-19, music lives on–in modalities that observe social distancing even as they highlight musical hopes and harmonies.
I receive these musical offerings as a gift of the pandemic. Some churches have been able to create musical ensembles with musicians from across distant geographies. How wonderful it is to experience new and unexpected connections in these uncertain times. My prayer is that we continue to unwrap this and other liturgical gifts of the pandemic season.
Inspired to experiment with technologies I am encountering in these days, I collaborated with musician and songwriter, Sally Ann Morris, and musician and singer, Sheila Hunter, to create this virtual ensemble. Sally Ann Morris wrote a musical refrain to accompany my prayer-poem. We had great fun working on this project. I share it here with gratitude for all musician and religious leaders who continue to inspire and energize their communities in these days.
God, who breathed into firstborn soil the breath of life—
Honored to write and breathe a bilingual prayer in partnership with my Spirit-sister, Reverend Maria Teresa Jones.
God who breathed into firstborn soil the breath of life, your Spirit exhales and fragrances us– our communities, our wounds, our hiding places, our bodies and souls –with the honeyed aromas of your mercy, justice, and grace.
Breathe on us now, O God.
Season us– our footsteps our words our very beings –so that in our living and working and worshiping, we perfume your world with your radical scent of justice-making, your healing balm of kindness, your life-restoring tincture of mercy.
Strengthen us for the journey ahead so that we might be en-couraged– have hearts expansive enough and spirits wise enough to breathe your radical love into those too-much-with-us wounds that expose and weaken the world’s weary bones.
God who breathed into firstborn soil the breath of life– here and there, now and then, against all odds, may we encounter in each other your peace– unexpected abundant radical life-sustaining beyond all human understanding peace.
Kiss us, O God, with that peace and send us out to kiss others–
In the name of Christ, by the power of your Spirit.
Dios que respiro a su suelo primogénito el aliento de vida, Tu aliento nos efranga nuestras comunidades, nuestras heridas, nuestros escondites, nuestros cuerpos y almas –con el aroma de miel de tu misericordia, justicia y gracia.
Respira sobre nosotros ahora, oh Dios.
Sazona– nuestros pasos nuestras palabras nuestros propios seres –para que en nuestro vivir, trabajo y adoración, perfumemos tu mundo con tu aroma radical de justicia, tu bálsamo de sanamiento y bondad, y tu tinta de misericordia que restaura la vida.
Fortalecenos para el sendero en adelante A ser animados– Y tener corazones suficientemente expansivos y espíritus suficientemente sabios para respirar tu amor radical dentro de las heridas presente-con-nosotros que exponen y debilitan los huesos cansados del mundo.
Dios que respiró en su suelo primogénito el aliento de vida– aquí y allá, ahora y de entonces contra todo reto que encontremos entre cada uno tu paz– Inesperada Abundante Radical sostenimiento de la vida más allá de todo entendimiento humano Paz.
Bésanos oh Dios, con esa paz y envianos hacia adelante a besar a otros.
En el nombre de Cristo, Y por el poder de tu Espíritu.