Church consultant Joanna la Fleur shares an only-in-the-pandemic story she heard about in 2020.
In a videoconference church service, there was someone in a community leading worship. To avoid the jarring experience of communal singing that is slightly off by half a second due Internet lag time, only one person’s microphone is unmuted during live worship. On this particular Sunday, the worship leader had had a tough week. They were playing guitar and singing, and at some point, there was just so much going on in the world, they felt overcome emotionally. They weren't able to sing anymore. They kept playing guitar, but weren't able to get the words out.
And then, totally organically, one person unmuted themself on the call, and began singing, carrying the words that were too heavy for the leader. And then another joined, and another. The timing was still slightly askew, and not everyone joined -- just enough of them to lift up their voices, and the leader, and each other, in worship.
It is possible something like this happens with some frequency in a physical building with a live in-person gathering. But, there is something about the screen, and the 'safeness' of being present while not fully vulnerable, that lends itself to moments such as these.
To Joanna, this was one of the most beautiful, moving things she could imagine being part of. It was the church being the church, carrying one another’s burdens.