Among the gifts of this moment are the new rituals and patterns that are emerging. Not all of them will remain when we’ve moved through the current crisis. But some of them will, and we will be the better for it.
In our church we have a weekly discussion group called “Stone Soup” where we add our own “ingredients” around the Sunday readings. These days, of course this is done in a web conference. Attendance has doubled, and we are seeing people from far away, younger people, working people who cannot make our “retiree-friendly” time on a weekday morning.
Slowly, it dawned on me. These are the voices we have been missing.
There are many of us who are focused on the “gifts” of this moment, like the ability to slow down, to be more at home with ourselves, our families, the environment. The language around this time feels like one of an extended “retreat” that we have sorely needed.
But suddenly we’re hearing other voices that express a much different experience. For most of the world, this is not a retreat at all. It is a serious crisis. We hear stories of parenting, uncertainty over employment, health care workers on the front line, vulnerable populations who do not have the luxury of “retreat” at all right now.
This is an “aha” moment.
We have a serious blind spot. We have been slow to embrace change. We have expressed a disdain for technology as if it were unspiritual or undignified, and yet in this time when we can ONLY gather virtually, we suddenly hear the voices that have been missing. If we are wise, this will teach us something essential.
The Great Reformation would never have occurred without technology. The printing press was new and unknown. Many people didn’t know how to read, but the world moved forward, and those who did not embrace the technology of the printed page were left behind.
We have often said that there is a new reformation coming. It’s more like a spiritual revolution. This one is fueled not by the printing press, but by the internet. For some of us it can be new and unknown. I know it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes it makes us feel embarrassed and inept, like in first grade when we struggled to pronounce an unknown word.
But if we learned to read, we can learn to Zoom, and if we want to do our good work in the world, we will rise and meet this moment.