I have not felt motivated to join in online worship but a sense of duty prompted me to try. So I shared in a zoom Meeting for Worship on Sunday and the experience was unexpectedly revealing.
I was ‘with’ forty or so Friends from a nearby Meeting, most of whom I knew, plus a couple of Friends my my own Meeting who had also joined in.
Centring down and finding my focus felt like it always does. However, I was aware that I could make notes quite easily, without disturbing anyone and without being seen. And I did, as reflections came to me.
Then the strange thing happened. I found myself being transported into all the Meeting Houses I have been in, as if I had been teleported. I began to remember Friends I associate with those meetings, including all those in my Area Meeting, and also Woodbrooke, BYM Gatherings, etc. I felt a sense of connectedness to Friends everywhere in the shared silence. I found when I closed my eyes I was imagining I could be anywhere in the world, in the universe.
Now, I wonder why I have not done this before in the normal meetings for worship. I have often pictured Friends who are not present and thought about them as well as those who are there. And too often I have found myself concerned with the building and it’s maintenance! Perhaps that is the clue. Perhaps I tend to be rooted in the place where I am worshipping, with the people who are part of that Meeting. Sharing in online worship freed me from the limitations of place and the boundaries of my local community. If I am linking with Friends remotely then I can connect with Friends anywhere! The boundaries that usually separate when we are meeting in separate places, have dissolved. I can be with Friends in mind and heart at any time and any place.
You will probably be thinking why has it taken me so long to come to such an obvious insight! Well, sometimes I am slow. I do think about my friends and family when we are separated. I feel concern for people across the world when I hear in the news that they are in trouble. And in the past when preparing prayers I would have included concerns and communities far distant as well as those close to home.
Now that I have become aware of this possibility I may still join with Friends in worship online but I will also try to connect more frequently at any time and wherever I am. You may not be aware of me, but I will be with you in heart and mind.