My church, like most I imagine during corona-mania, is limited to 10 or fewer people inside at once. Therefore, services are open only to the clergy. To accommodate the laity, starting this morning, the Sunday of the Holy Cross, services are live-streamed.
So there were our two priests, conducting the Divine Liturgy to an empty church, save, of course, for the camera operator.
It was nice. I enjoyed listening to the gospel readings and the homilies and the prayers–there was no choir, so one of the priests acted as the chanter. We could even see the profession of the cross around the church.
But it wasn’t the same. Obviously, one cannot partake of the Holy Communion virtually (telecommunion?). And while a live-streamed service is better than nothing, it can’t replicate the feeling of being there.
It’s a temporary measure that I understand–why take unnecessary risks when we’re trying to halt the spread of this thing? But it shows the limits of technology. God is not limited. He is everywhere. Our tools, however, are not as boundless as Him. All of our gadgets can only provide a reasonable facsimile of the real thing.
Such is the case with all things humans do, if I may get a bit maudlin, especially when we try to reach the divine and ineffable. Even live-streamed concerts don’t have the same energy, can’t replicate the feeling of being there.
Virtual communities are great. They are vital, even. But they are in no way a perfect one-to-one substitute for actual physical proximity with people.
I’m thankful our God-given intellects have allowed humanity to create these tools. I’m thankful for them during our great national quarantine. I just pray things return to normal sooner than later because in short order we’re going to really start feeling the absence of the real thing, whatever the thing in question may be.
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