Music, song and the spoken word are integral components of modern-day worship.
Martin Luther once said:
“As long as we live, there is never enough singing”
But as we adapt to new guidelines singing must take a back seat. The rousing sound of a congregation in full flow is on pause for the time being, so how can we continue to create an atmosphere in as we prepare our church buildings for Sunday services?
The five bodily senses offer a unique place to start, but COVID-19 discounts our sense of touch for obvious reasons.
1. Create an Atmosphere of Worship with the Organ
The centre-piece of any music within church buildings while undoubtedly take on more prominence. With smaller congregations during this time, the sound of the organ can easily dominate the space so it might be preferable to stick with lighter melodies. With so much to reflect upon, this would be an opportune moment to invite your congregation to gather their thoughts and mediate in a peaceful environment.
2. Create an Atmosphere of Connection with Candles
Often recognised as a symbol of hope, the humble candle has been a beacon of solitude during the pandemic. The flicker of light emitted from a collection of candles can add a deep sense of reverence to the atmosphere, particularly with the lights dimmed. Of course the handling of candles must be considered during this time so why not ask your congregation to bring their own candle and light it memory of a loved one?
3. Create an Atmosphere for all Emotions with Incense
An element of worship that can divide opinion, incense stirs the emotions and serves as a symbolic aid in prayer. Aromatics prompt a sense of familiarity which many congregation members will have missed during their absence from church buildings. But be conscious of those who might not enjoy the incense and limit its usage to begin with.
4. Create an Atmosphere of Communal Experience with Wine & Bread
Much has been made of the act of Holy Communion and whether it has a place in this new way of worship. We’ve heard many interesting plans about serving the body and blood of Christ. Some have deemed it too risky but the use of paper cups and pipette offer an opportunity to participate in Holy Communion within the guidelines.
The ingenuity and creativity to adapt worship during the pandemic has preserved our sense of spiritual fellowship. As we return to church buildings, we must seek new alternatives and solutions to maintain the atmosphere of our sacred spaces.