Video Prayer

I spent the first morning of suspended church activities in my office watching videos of tips for recording YouTube videos and writing a script for one I planned to post urgently later in the day for my youth. I did not enjoy this. In a text exchange with a friend, I complained that I’m much more comfortable with audio than I am with video. His reply? “Well, now’s your chance to get comfortable with video.”

Thanks a lot, Landon.

I was interrupted by a call that someone was at the church who wished to speak to a pastor. I went out to meet the person and was greeted by a smiling guy in a Carhartt jacket and a goatee. He told me he was from Indiana and that his wife was having a procedure at the hospital across the street. I prepared myself mentally for the heavy news he was about to share about his life. But instead, he explained that he was part of an online church and that, when he saw our church building, he felt compelled to come in and find someone to pray with about Coronavirus. He added that he wanted to video our prayer and post it to the church’s Facebook page.

So to recap: one moment I’m alone in my office fretting about having to do a new kind of work for church that makes me feel inadequate and self-conscious, and the next minute a complete stranger walks into the church looking to do with me that very kind of work, because it’s literally the only way his church does church. Got it?

It was not comfortable. His vocabulary for God and his framing of the urgent need of the moment was very different from my vernacular. I felt a momentary panic that I would be publicly associating myself and my congregation with some fringe religious entity. But only a moment. I thought instead about what kind of discomfort this person had overcome to walk in here and express this invitation to a complete stranger, one wearing a clerical collar no less. After a couple minutes of conversation, he propped his iPhone 5 up on the table, hit record, and we prayed.

Later that day, I did the same thing for myself, confident that this is a thing you can do to be church.

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