This morning is Palm Sunday on Zoom for the third time... DV next year we will be hybrid, and I won't be frantically pinning plastic palm leaves to purple fabric, though if it is either, that will be fine, I am sure.
After a bit of a late panic, when the hard drive on my laptop died, and it spent 24 hours at the laptop hospital, followed by about three hours of installing essential software, it's quite pleasing to be set up and, broadband or Zoom glitches permitting, good to. go.
Looking forward to a multi-voiced amble through Luke's version of events... which has no palms and no anointing, but does have all the essential elements to lead us to Gethsemane.
Last night our Zoom Tech Team went to the hotel for a trial set-up and dry run. The headline is: IT WORKS!
There were some challenges, mostly around broadband, and for the time-being it's an experimental lash-up to test the concept before we spend any money, but it was so much simpler than we had dared hope. Thank you P, L, A and B (some onsite, some online) for your hard work and determination.
We are quite clear that we are moving to hybrid worship, not simply streaming onsite worship to an audience. We are not turning back the clock to March 2020 with cameras, nor are we doing Zurch with a bunch of folk in one room. This is a 'new thing' that embraces the best of the 'old' - not new wine in old skins, but a rather fantastic experimental spritzer maybe!
We know things will go awry. We know we will need to be patient and forgiving. We know that we won't all like everything.
We also know, in so far as we know our hearts, that this is the path in which Jesus is leading us - so, onsite or online, we journey in, together with God.
It's been a while since Sophie joined me to lead worship, but today she was determined to con-celebrate communion. I have a feeling she's a closet Roman Catholic, as she jingled her bell at precisely the right moment!
It was planned a long time ago - a short break to draw breath before Lent. An apartment in Lancaster, and the promise of meet-ups with friends. It was not to be - a week ago I was contacted to say someone I had spent time with, face-to-face, in a cafe, had tested positive for Covid. I checked the rules (for Scotland) which which said that as long as I tested negative I could go - but what if I tested positive once I got there? I decided this was risk not worth taking, so cancelled the trip, losing my money, as it seems the Covid cancellation clauses have all been revoked (fair enough but disappointing). Despite developing some symptoms which prompted me to get a PCR test, I have tested negative every day, so, as it turns out, I could have gone. But I still think it was the right call.
So, a weekend in Glasgow - and general avoidance of people other than a quick food shopping trip and a coffee in a nearly empty cafe on Saturday.
The mural above is in an jitty/ginnnel/alley/land/back/entry near St George's Cross. I found it when I chose to 'follow my nose' rather than my familiar route. I love the vibrant colours and the sense of hope it carries - especially tucked away in a place few will ever see it.
It would have been good to get away, and good to catch up with two sets of friends, but it wasn't to be. As I reflect on world events, I gain valuable perspective - I might not be packing a case to come home from a weekend away, but at least I am not choosing what to pack as I flee for my very life...
Hope is like spring flowers and butterflies painted on a wall in a dingy jitty.