A Virtual Lovefeast

We weren’t sure how this was going to go… no where in our church history or my pastoral experience did we have any track record of gathering virtually for Holy Week. I mean, Holy Week is aptly named… it is holy, precious and set apart for many of our faith communities. So much of the power of it has come from our communal gathering where we sit lamenting the death of Christ and later celebrating the Resurrection.

Cue COVID-19.

Holy Week could not happen as it had been happening for so many years. We could not gather in person because, as it turns out, loving neighbor right now, is staying distant from our neighbors.

Thus… a Zoom Lovefeast was organized for Maundy Thursday.

Recipes for bread were sent and folks were encouraged to cook their dinner meals and set up a Zoom connection at their dinner tables.

We didn’t know if people would actually be into this or not. Would technology be able to connect us? Would people have technological issues accessing the meeting? I thought it would be cool to have 20 people there.

But as we opened the Zoom room, more and more people logged in… singles, families, couples… 80, 90, 100 people.

We began the liturgy of our virtual Lovefeast with a communal Call to Worship… because we knew somehow in all the weirdness of the virtual world, we were still creating worship.

We sang together around our tables. We ate together. We praised God together. Young children eating spaghetti as the scripture of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples was read by other children. Prayers of the People coming in via the Zoom chat feature. The Lord’s Prayer said together, each of us muted but very much proclaiming: “give us this day our daily bread… and thy kin-dom come, thy will be done… on earth as it is in heaven.”

The bread fed us in a way it never had before. We were sad and scared in those early weeks of quarantine.

As we held our fear and sadness, we ate, prayed, and laughed, and celebrated a new kind of love. A love which initiated a new way, a kin-dom which was an antidote to the ancient and present domination system based on wealth, power, exclusivity, and violence. A new kin-dom where all are welcome, worthy, named “beloved,” and where we are invited back into right relationship with each other— the kind of relationships where our liberation is tied to one another.

Having had this powerful experience, we gave each other words of blessing as we departed.

The bread had reached deep places of hunger for each of us.

What a holy week. Thanks be to God.

 

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