a covid christmas carol?


By Douglas Grogan
Well, that's not exactly what our annual Lessons & Carols will be titled, but I can promise it will be unique and very different this year. Our goal will be to take you on a journey up through Christmas. For now, since this will not be in person service, reservations will not be required. Stay tuned for more details.

Ways To Worship When Singing Isn't An Option
Until it is safe to resume mask-less singing in worship, we are asking you to worship differently. It is different, and sometimes a challenge, but I am reminded there are others who have had to experience worship without using their voices over time. Maybe this will help us discover a new perspective.

Worship isn't just music.  It includes preludes, praise songs, hymns, special music offerings, pastoral prayers, silence, corporate prayers, communion, creeds, scripture, sermon, benediction, postludes, and the communion of saints all at once.  Some would even say our act of worship begins the moment we awake and the attitude we have as we enter the worship space.  

In these unusual times, how can we have experiential worship?

  1. Bring your Bible to church and underline/highlight the scripture of the day (a practice that maybe we should all think of returning to).   Bring a notepad and take notes during the message, or write down questions that you want to discuss with your friends, family, or with one of the pastors.  I have one friend who is an artist and draws during the message to express what she is hearing and pondering.   Some people would say she isn't paying attention, but she is a kinesthetic learner and needs to be actively moving to engage with the Word.
  2. During instrumental music moments, be in prayer with God asking Him what He needs you to hear and understand that day.  What is the Spirit saying to you?
  3. Hum along, or even whistle under your mask.
  4. Know you will not be judged if you decide to lift one or both hands in praise or prayer.  If Zacchaeus can climb a sycamore tree to see Jesus, you can raise your hand(s) to Jesus in joy.
  5. As you hear the music sung, try to read the words and seek a new meaning to a familiar song.   I often believe God will use familiar music and words to speak truth to us at different points in our life.  Isn't it amazing when one reads scripture over and over, that Jesus can speak differently to that person?  That is part of the awe and mystery of the Almighty.

Finally, when we are post-pandemic, if you greatly miss singing in worship...maybe it is a sign you will need to speak to Pastor Miguel Rios or myself about getting involved in music ministry.   I'm not suggesting you would have the first solo opportunity coming up, but there are ways to be involved and maybe the Holy Spirit will nudge you in that direction.

Douglas Grogan is Director of Traditional Music at FUMC