I am writing this evening to help you to prepare for our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worship services.
Maundy Thursday will take place online tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 7:00 PM. You will receive a link to the livestream in your email before the service begins. We will be sharing Holy Communion together. To some, this may sound very strange. Afterall, how can we share Holy Communion together if we are not in the same space? Is a digital gathering a “real” gathering?
There has been a great deal of debate among my colleagues over the past couple of weeks about these questions. I don’t know if “virtual communion” is “real communion.” The only way we will ever know is if we try, so I will be offering Holy Communion tomorrow evening for the online Maundy Thursday service, and again on Sunday morning for the online Easter service. Then, we can talk about what our digital experience of Holy Communion was like for each of us. (By the way, our Lutheran bishops of the ELCIC are encouraging us to do whatever we believe is best for our own congregations. So we do this with the blessings of our bishops.)
To prepare for tomorrow evening, I’m asking you to create a specially prepared place where you will be viewing the worship service online. Maybe have a table cloth and candles. Any bread will do – a slice of bread, a bun, whatever works for you. If it is bread to you, it is bread. But maybe put it on one of your finer plates. For the wine, perhaps a nice wine glass or chalice, if you have one. What kind of wine? It does not matter. If it is wine to you, it is wine. (If you choose to only commune with bread, that’s perfectly ok. Communing with only one element of communion is still fully partaking of the sacrament.)
Regarding Good Friday: (Friday morning at 10:00 PM – Once again, you will receive a link in your email shortly before the service begins.) I am looking for eight readers. We will be going through eight stations of the cross during the service, and I am looking for one reader for each of the stations. The readings are very short and not difficult. You should be able to use your smart-phone or computer to speak into. Each reader will be given directions from Glen about how to participate live in the service from your home. Please email me if you are willing to be one of these readers and I will send you your reading ahead of time.
I have heard that some people find the volume of our online services to be too low. We are working on improving audio and video. One tip that might help: There are two volume levels that you will need to turn up. One is the volume level on your computer. The second is the volume level on the YouTube video. You will find a speaker symbol on the bottom left of the YouTube video. Be sure to slide that volume setting up all the way. I hope that helps.
Peace and blessings to you during this very unique Holy Week. Look out for one another. Stay connected with each other. Wash your hands. Easter is coming!!