Look at the large letters I’m making with my own handwriting!—Apostle Paul, Galatians 6:11 (CEB)
So since “being the people of God” didn’t stop when Austin TX started sheltering in place,
and since the truth that Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected is still true,
Christendom will be observing Easter on Sunday, and is in the middle of observing Holy Week even now.
And as a congregational intern, I still have a congregation (!) and studently responsibilities, which include being on-deck for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter worship, in whatever way my congregation (and supervising pastor!) asks me to.
Yesterday that included a video-call worship team meeting, In Which We Discovered That High-ish Registers on the Piano Cut Out using the microphones we have. The musicians among us (myself included!) fussed and troubleshot and tried to route around this,
until we were reminded, by the pastor and our (self-described) non-musical committee chair, that we were in this as an expression of community, not as an expression of professional performance. Oh yeah, that’s right.
I’ve recently seen a scrap floating through my social media to the effect of: Isn’t it great that Paul and the other early followers of The Way of Christ Jesus were so high tech? That they used all their media skills to ‘do church’ remotely?
Um, absolutely! Because — this being these folks’ point — we contemporary persons would have so little to go on were it not for their media skills. In fact, in my New Testament studies classes, we often wonder aloud what Paul, et al. would say about our having folded their works into our permanent record.
All of which to lead up to my thought this morning while fixing my coffee: I remembered the Galatians text above.
Paul didn’t have any illusions about his personal media skills. And we don’t have any record that he tried to improve his handwriting, or spent time honing his rhetoric skills (definitely a transferable commodity, if he wanted to stop tent-making). From what’s survived, Paul seems to have been more of a “git ‘er done” person, looking for the fastest, most effective in the moment method. Ministering to those in front of him, in a good-enough way.
Who knows? Maybe he had a dozen more missives that didn’t survive. But that did the work needed at the time.
As an artistic person, I want to glorify God (who made me this way) by creating the best possible <whatever>. The most polished, closest to amazing <whatever> I’ve been given a vision of. I firmly believe, with Madeline L’Engle, that art made for God and God’s people should be high-quality work by anyone’s standards, faith tradition aside.
Even so, and particularly in this distance-mediated season, I doubt we worship leaders are all called to be producers. Or if we’re acting as producers, that this is any different of a calling than when, as solo pastors of an aging building, we’re called to be general contractors.
Right now, I’m ready to look back at the patchy recordings of our worship this week and say,
“Look at the wobbly web-cam I’m using while I speak the liturgy! And
‘as for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ “