I just had a wonderful weekend leading our “Called and Commanded” Lenten Retreat. And while I am very used to speaking in front of crowds, I am always thrown of, even just a little bit, by the medium I must use to make myself seen and heard.
You see, rather than speaking into a microphone that makes my voice sound larger than life, the microphone I have to use for online presentations makes the noises of my life seem larger. You can hear my children yelling and stomping on the floor upstairs. You can hear the dog alerting us all from outside that yet another car has passed by. And if you are really attentive, you can hear my furnace turn on and off as it toys with the idea of keeping our house warm.
But that’s not the worst of it.
And I have to believe—even though I have no visual or auditory confirmation to support it—that the Holy Spirit is working through the weak vessel that, made weaker still by my poor equipment and even poorer internet connection.
Perhaps what I miss the most is that when I am invited to your parish, or your conference, or your small group gathering, I am able to look every last person in the eye. After all, they say that the eye is the window to the soul, or at the very least, the best indication that another is about to fall asleep—a very good sign to any presenter that he better change things up!
Sitting at my desk though, staring at a screen that never quite looks back, I have to keep convincing myself that you are all really there. And I have to believe—even though I have no visual or auditory confirmation to support it—that the Holy Spirit is working through the weak vessel that, made weaker still by my poor equipment and even poorer internet connection.
But maybe that’s the point.
In all of this, we have to trust that God can use us—broken though we are—to reach the broken. We have to have faith that frayed internet cables and old computers (that have already sighed their last breath only to be resurrected by our clacking keyboards) are not an impediment to a God who has already and will continue to work great miracles in our lives.
And I suppose I should also believe, even while we’re separated from loved ones and there is a great distance between us all, that somehow you are here with me and that I’m not just staring into an empty lens as I prepare to go live.
After all, we have to be here for one another, now more than ever.