Live Stream Morning Prayer Rite II
Beginning this Sunday, April 26th at 10:30 AM St. Paul’s will begin live streaming Morning Prayer. We are grateful for the generosity of an anonymous donor who made the gift of a camera with live streaming capabilities possible. God’s blessings continue even in the midst of this pandemic.
Many have missed our music so I am pleased to say that we will have music incorporated into our worship together include an organ prelude beginning 5 minutes prior to our service. There will also be a digital bulletin provided to you so you may participate in our worship from home. Please join us and do invite your friends to join from home as well. The link to our YouTube page where we will broadcast can be found by clicking here or on our website. One final invitation: When you go to the YouTube page, please click on “Subscribe.” If we reach 100 subscriptions YouTube will give St. Paul’s more options making it easier for us to reach you and you to find us. You will not be asked to provide any personal information. If this is all the information you need then may God’s blessings go with you as you go about your day. If you read on, however, you will find our reasoning as to why we have chosen Morning Prayer instead of Eucharist during this time of separation. For your time it is possible that God may bless you further.
Morning Prayer as Sunday Worship
With our new technology in hand the decision to hold Morning Prayer in place of the Eucharist is a decision Ray and I have come to through much prayer and discussion. Our Anglican heritage is deeply rooted in Eucharistic practice. In the Episcopal Church this focus became central again following the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Because of this the Eucharist has come to define for many what church is all about on Sunday mornings. The loss of this practice in our lives at this time is a great loss indeed. We feel that loss through grief, even frustration, but fundamentally I believe that sense of loss is rooted in longing; a longing to know the presence of Jesus through the sacrament. But, if you’ll allow me a reference to Orthodox theology for a moment, I am reminded that first and foremost, it is God that makes the Church and not the Eucharist. Without it, we are still the Church and we will continue to care for the needs of the world and live out our baptismal callings. This knowledge has brought me comfort.
My comfort aside, the fact remains that we long to be together in our Eucharistic gathering. And I believe this longing that we feel speaks to the effectiveness of the sacrament celebrated among the gathered assembly. The sacramental theology affirmed by our Anglican heritage is one deeply committed to the belief that it is through the gathering of the baptized assembly around a shared table, around one loaf of bread and around one cup that makes consecration possible. We clergy are ordained to, among other things, preside at the altar on behalf of the gathered assembly in the context of our Eucharistic gathering. Without the ability of the assembly to gather the Eucharist loses this sanctifying element. Until such a time that we are able to gather together again as members of the body of Christ within the space of Saint Paul’s we will worship using other appropriate liturgical resources available to us such as Morning Prayer.
I am grateful for the ability to provide live streaming services from within the church. Many have expressed a desire to be in that space again and Ray and I consider it a privilege to be able to meet you in that space in the virtual world. But one thought on sacred space before I close. While our sacred space of St. Paul’s has been lost to most of us during this time, what makes any space sacred is that in that space we celebrate what God is up to in all places. In times like these I pray we all may find comfort in the knowledge that God is with us wherever we are; God is no less active in our living rooms than within the walls of our church.
There is much about our lives as we knew them only a few weeks ago that is lost to us for the time being, yet God remains. I do think it fitting that we find ourselves in Easter season because what we celebrate in Easter is the mystery of Christ, the crucified risen one, with us and yet it is through the suffering of the cross that this is possible. We are reminded particularly in this Easter Season that it is through suffering that Christ is with us. I am thankful that with technology and the many resources of our Book of Common Prayer we are able to praise God together for the truths revealed to us through the empty tomb.
God’s Blessings to you all,
The Rev. Adam Pierce.