The Church of the Messiah (Livestream)
This week I livestreamed a service from The Church of the Messiah (A United Methodist Congregation) in Westerville. I’ve been curious about livestreamed services since I started this journey. Almost every church I have visited either offers their services via livestream or as a video/podcast you can consume at a later date. I assume churches offer livestream and recordings to help with flexibility and to take advantage of the digital age. For those that can’t leave their home, or those that have to work on Sunday mornings, it’s a very considerate option. For those that were too lazy to get out of bed in time to get ready and go to church (hi, that’s me!) it feels like a cop-out. I haven’t done it yet for that reason. I have always thought getting up and getting dressed and being inside of a church with the congregation is the best way to get the full experience. I still believe that, but now that I have tried a livestream, I can give a rundown of the pros and cons of “attending” a livestream service.
- You can be on the couch in your pajamas with your cat
- You can drink your own coffee during the service
- You still hear the message of that day’s sermon
- You can actively google things during the service without being disruptive
- You don’t talk to anyone else (except maybe your cat)
- It is easier for your mind to wander from the message
- You don’t have any materials distributed by the church (pamphlets, songbooks, announcements, etc)
- You feel lazy
Via livestream, it took me much longer to get into the church headspace. Normally, once you’re in a pew and staring at a cross, your mind is on the divine. If you’re on your couch just watching church play out, it can feel like you’re watching any other video at home. It was almost 15 full minutes into the service before I thought “oh, shoot, you haven’t thought about God a single time yet.”
I tried to pay closer attention to the service after that. I tried to feel like I do when I’m at church, and I got most of the way there. I still felt some calm and peace. It was actually incredibly calming to listen to the congregation sing while my cat was purring in my lap. However, I definitely missed some aspects of being there. I missed observing the other people and the scenery. I actually missed the commute to church. I have found my Sundays have been much more productive since I started this blog. That’s because, instead of sleeping in and staying on my couch for most of the day, going to church requires me to get up, get dressed, and get out of my house. After you’ve been through a service, you’re usually awake and ready to do other things. For me, I usually grab coffee and write my post for the week. Or I run some errands, or I meet a friend for lunch. Ultimately, my Sundays become something more than a day on the couch when I get up and go to church. I missed that.
Anyway, with today being Father’s Day, The Church of the Messiah focused on fathers. They honored the fathers in their congregation, they discussed biblical fathers (father Abraham anyone?) and they worshiped our heavenly father. They stressed the role of a father in someone’s spiritual life. A father leads their family in faithfulness and honors their family. I appreciated that they acknowledged that this person can be a literal father, or someone else in their life. Even if you don’t have a literal father, you can still surround yourself with people that have similar values and beliefs as you and take spiritual energy from that, and that doesn’t have to be a father. But on father’s day, they acknowledged that a father fills that role for so many people. They emphasized the importance of family and loving them, even if they aren’t perfect. I appreciated that message very much.
Shout out to my dad. Not only is today father’s day, but tomorrow is his birthday! Growing up in a non-religious household, my dad wasn’t necessarily a leader in my spiritual development as a kid. That doesn’t matter, though. My dad taught me to do my very best at everything I do, to be honest, and encouraged me in all of my interests. I think those things are so important to who I am now. He is supportive of this blog, and this self-exploration, and him being open to all the things I think and feel about God is a very important part of this journey. I often worry about letting down my friends or myself with this journey, but I never for a second worry about letting down my parents. I appreciate that so much, on father’s day and every day.