Surround-Sound

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Image Description: A person is sitting with a laptop on their lap; the screen has an image of a galaxy.

As I’ve been doing pretty frequently these days, I led a worship service over Zoom yesterday morning. Many communities are using this platform, but I’ve noticed that each congregation utilizes it with slight differences in order to fit their own worship rhythms and preferences.

Many congregations have chosen to mute everyone during collective prayers and liturgy while one or two people speak the words aloud. This way, we don’t hear everyone’s voices at once, speaking out of sync with time delays. Muted people can speak aloud at home, but we don’t hear their voices.

Of course, we lose a sense of the collective sound in the midst of this also. The congregation I was with yesterday enjoys speaking prayers all together, all aloud, with the time delays.

I enjoyed and appreciated this too. There were times when I let all of that sound wash over me in a sense. This was especially true when we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. I spoke the words, but I listened even more. I heard the phrases overlapping with one another as they were voiced from many places. And this felt like a true recognition of prayer over distance. We can feel surrounded in a sound like that, and when we’re physically alone, this is a lovely gift.

Renee Roederer

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