17 In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young will see visions.
Your elders will dream dreams.
Ok, it’s not the last days. At least, I don’t think it’s the last days. But there is definitely some dreaming and visioning and prophesying going on right now! When I look around on Facebook and Messenger, in groups and on pages dedicated to clergy and church stuff, I see all of these things happening at the same time.
Dreaming: All of us are kind of looking back nostalgically to the Before Times - like the end of February, when we hadn’t yet started paying much attention to the coronavirus. Every time a conversation comes up about re-opening our buildings for in-person worship, someone is sure to say “But it won’t be the same without singing or communion or saying the Lord’s Prayer in unison or sitting with our friends.” And we all agree that it will not be the same. In the back of many minds is the dream that worship can some day get back to “normal” - the way it was every single Sunday in the Before Times. We talk about a “new normal” but honestly, we have no idea what that will look like.
Visioning: All of these amazingly creative people have taken the opportunity to make worship available in new and different ways! There are live worship services on Zoom and Facebook Live and YouTube Live. There are services that are totally pre-recorded and available only on YouTube. There are parking lot services, with the audio coming into everyone’s car via their FM radio. When one thing doesn’t work or stops working, they scratch their collective heads and say, “Well, how about we try this other thing?” They are constantly changing and growing and envisioning new ways to spread the Good News to the maximum number of people in the most effective ways possible.
Prophesying: The church has left the building, and it will never be the same again. Some have decided they are much more effective outside. Almost everyone who has gone to online worship says they will continue that practice even after we are back in our buildings. We looking forward to a new kind of worship, a new way of doing and being church that respects the past and embraces the future.
AND we are seeing Church becoming more involved in the things outside our doors - more and more church folks are getting awakened to realities of poverty and racism that maybe they never saw before. The prophets of the church are calling us to look into our own hearts and make the changes we need to make in ourselves so that we can transform the world into God’s kingdom on earth.
God of all the prophets, may we open our hearts to all the changes that lie ahead - changes in how we do things, and changes in how we see things. May we listen to our prophets, and make your world a better place. Amen.