One evening last week, Oby and I had a virtual Zoom happy hour with friends who live in New York City. We rarely see these friends in person and, frankly, don’t keep in touch with them much outside of occasional “likes” and comments on Facebook. But recently we connected via video chat to catch up and enjoy some wine together.
Of course, video chat technology isn’t new; we could have been scheduling virtual happy hours with long-distance friends all along. But this pandemic has us thinking in new ways about how we keep in touch with the people we love. I imagine there are many more Zoom happy hours with far-off friends and family in our future, even after COVID-19 has run its course and life returns to normal.
We’ve had a similar experience at church. We were unwillingly and abruptly thrust into the world of online worship when it became unsafe for us to gather in person, but we have learned so much about how we can worship together virtually via technology. We have learned how to have effective meetings and even virtual coffee hours on Zoom. I suspect much of what we have learned will inform how we go about ministry at for years to come.
People sometimes wonder where God is in times like these. Maybe this is one of the places God is at work in the midst of this pandemic: encouraging us as we forge new ways to connect with one another in the absence of in-person community and sparking creativity as we adapt to a new reality. Even as we are surrounded by so much illness, death, anxiety, and grief, I see glimmers of a good God at work. I hope you see it, too.