• Jesse Smith

Small is the New Big

Thoughts on the first sunday of the pandemic


When I first started at Christ UMC in July of 2019, one of the things that struck me as unusual was the long duration of time people greeted one another during the “Passing of the Peace.” It was authentic and sincere, like a mini-family-reunion of sorts but it seemed like forever as a newcomer to the family. I scanned the pews on my first Sunday, looking for introverts who may have felt uneasy but rarely did I see anyone who wasn’t engaged in lively conversation.


Part of the beauty that I have grown to appreciate at Christ is this worshipful time of letting each individual know that they are welcome and that they are a part of something larger than themselves. We are the type of church that enjoys seeing people’s faces, catching up with what happened in life over the previous week, shaking hands and perhaps even hugging a neck or two.


And this Sunday was a break from that holy rhythm.


This Sunday, the city of Charlotte, the nation and the world all seem to be voluntarily or not-so-voluntarily quarantining. We have chosen to listen to the medical professionals and ecclesial/political leaders among us, who encouraged us to “flatten the curve,” by distancing ourselves from one another.


And while we are embracing improvisation in this season of ministry by worshiping via Facebook Livestream, it is difficult to love at a distance.


I missed making my rounds this morning during the traditional and modern services and seeing everyone. I missed shaking hands and hugging necks. And though many people viewed our Livestream and commented with words of welcome, a virtual connection will always lack a personal touch.


Next week, we will continue to Livestream worship and many individuals and families will join us through that medium. We are also asking people to consider hosting/joining a small group of people for worship in their homes (10-12 people). We believe that this is an opportunity for people to meet with less risk as we re-learn what it looks like to follow Jesus during a pandemic.


If you would like to host a group, email me at jesse@xumc.org and I will email you some discussion questions, kid’s activities, and scripture readings ahead of time. We encourage everyone to use their best judgment and not to host/attend if they have any cause for concern and/or symptoms of illness.


And while this first week of virtual worship was different, it makes me realize once again the beauty of what we create in worship. Until I SEE you again! (((Virtual Hug)))


Peace,

Jesse


PS - If you didn’t catch the Facebook Livestream, you can watch the service here.

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