The video that was live-streamed carefully avoided images of the empty pews and chairs, except for a few special moments at the beginning and end—but for those few of us present in the church the emptiness was a constant, unsettling presence. Cathedral Sacristan and Head Verger Michael Seewer posted a personal reflection about his experiences last Sunday on his personal blog. Below is a brief excerpt. Read his full post on his personal blog.
As the liturgy was to begin, the Dean shared words of welcome with everyone joining us on the internet. It was weird. And then, the choir rang the bell to signal the start of the service. The crucifer got ready to lead the procession (of three people…our processions are normally 50 or 60 people). And it really hit me.
This is all so weird.
The church was basically empty. At least, all of the seats and pews in the main part where the worshiping congregation sits. We normally have several hundreds of people attending each service. I think it hit me then, just how much things have changed just in the last couple of weeks.
I keep telling myself that I’m not going to let this all overwhelm me. I live in a city over 2,000 miles from my family. And though I have some wonderful friends whom I love and trust, I have occasional feelings of loneliness, missing the lifelong friendships from my hometown.
In the midst of our liturgy this morning, the words of Scripture washed over me. The reading from Exodus and the story of the Israelites in the wilderness. The words of Psalm 95…the antiphon
Harden not your hearts as your forebears did in the wilderness.
over and over and over…reminding me…don’t lose hope in this wilderness.
Read the rest of Michael's reflection here.