Virtual worship. What an unusual and intriguing phrase, one that has made its way into my everyday vocabulary. Covid-19 has not been able to stop faith communities from worshiping together in spirit and truth–in safe and socially distanced ways. Zoom worship windows, Facebook watch parties, YouTube gatherings, and more have become sacred spaces where people can encounter God and each other.
I am impressed and energized by the diverse and creative ways religious leaders and communities continue to worship together. Most intriguing is how communities are keeping worship music alive. With determination and emerging technical skills, choir leaders, pastors, and musicians are learning to create virtual choirs using an array of techniques and digital platforms. In spite of and through Covid-19, music lives on–in modalities that observe social distancing even as they highlight musical hopes and harmonies.
I receive these musical offerings as a gift of the pandemic. Some churches have created musical ensembles with musicians from across distant geographies. How wonderful it is to experience new and unexpected connections in these uncertain times. My prayer is that we continue to unwrap this and other liturgical gifts of the pandemic season.
Inspired to experiment with technologies I am encountering, I collaborated with musician and songwriter, Sally Ann Morris, and musician and singer, Sheila Hunter, to create the virtual ensemble linked below.
Sally Ann Morris wrote a musical refrain to accompany my prayer-poem. From our separate homes, we recorded six individual tracks. I used Garage Band and iMovie to fuse them together into this recording.
It is imperfect, and I have much yet to learn. And we had great fun working on this project. I share it here with gratitude for all musician and religious leaders who continue to inspire and energize their communities in these days.