Grace and Blessing. We hear these words all the time in terms of receiving God’s grace or receiving a blessing. The spirit of God operating in humans towards others. Courteous good will; doing honor or giving credit to others. During difficult times we hear stories of people showing others grace or being a blessing to people when they need it most. Unfortunately those stories are often mixed or lost beneath the weight of those of discontent, hatred, and division. We need to constantly remind ourselves to count our blessings instead of our woes. To show grace to others.
This week I’d like to focus on one of the huge blessings we have at St. Catherine’s. The blessing of those who share their time and talent with us when we don’t even know it’s happening. If you went online this Sunday to live stream our service, you received the gift that was given by Bill Ivey, Frankie Bowden and Jason Gardiner. Remember how most of us lost power this past week? Tropical storm force winds knocked down trees and power lines. Like thousands of others, the power and internet at St. Catherine’s was knocked out. The power came back on two days later, but the internet did not. These three folks have spent countless hours at our church over the last two weeks not only being trained how to use this new, rather complex streaming system but also how to make it work outside, while trying to get our WiFi up and running. They moved heaven and earth to get the service streamed live to those of us unable to be on campus. Were there glitches? Sure. Was it imperfect? Yes. It was the first time this was being tried. And we received a gift without even realizing it. These folks gave us the gift of seeing a service with Eucharist being held at St. Catherine’s while remaining safely in our homes. They volunteered countless hours of their time to give this blessing to each of us.
There were many comments shared during the service on Sunday. Some grateful, some letting us know you were having problems hearing, some letting us know you were frustrated by the glitches. We understand that it is frustrating. Please remember people are volunteering to make this happen and that we are working with the limitations of our wifi, while learning a new system. We ask you to extend grace to those who are working so hard to make sure that we can stay connected in the middle of a pandemic.
It may help to know that our volunteer tech crew is listening to the service with you. While running a soundboard, we are listening to the service in real time in an attempt to troubleshoot issues in real time.
Going forward, I ask that you keep in mind if you are having problems hearing or seeing the service online, the people who are filming know about it. There is no need to post comments about the quality of the streaming. There are a handful of people who watch and text our clergy and videographer so they are aware of these problems. Dozens of comments become distracting and take away from the reason we are all gathering. They take away from our time of worshiping God. Also, there are many who worship with us only online and have yet to experience the warmth of St. Catherine’s in person. Let’s help them see the welcoming place that St. Catherine’s is through our comments. After the service, feel free to post about how the service made you feel, something about it that moved you, but let’s do it with grace toward those who give of themselves to give us the blessing of being able to gather virtually. Our Lord asks us to show grace to our brothers and sisters. In difficult times, when we are frustrated, scared, and uneasy about so many things, let us be thankful for each other and the gift of our clergy, staff and volunteers who go above and beyond to keep us focused on all of the blessing of this life, given by the One who shows us endless Grace.