Last week at services I spoke about our goal to come back to worship together in person at Ruach. As we work to regroup, rebuild, and recommit, and as I reconnected with our virtual community after services as well, I was reminded of what a larger discussion this topic really is.
My mother, who was raised Orthodox Jewish, used to say to me that you can go into a field and pray to God. He is everywhere, though we prayed to Him “up there”. Then when I came to know Yeshua so many years later, my worship experience took on a new dimension, one that included intimacy with Yeshua, as well as awe of Him “up there”, somehow all as one. Up there and right here. He is omnipresent and the power of individual prayer is powerful. Yet when we pray with others, our sense of God’s presence grows exponentially. As our numbers increase, so too, does our worship grow stronger. Worshipping in community amplifies the voices of each of us as we exalt Him together. As we do so, His presence is magnified in our midst.
So when I talked about feeling the Ruach at Ruach, especially on Shabbat mornings when more of us are present to worship together, that is a true perception. And the more of us together, the more viscerally we feel our Abba in the room. It isn’t that He changes, but rather, that our ability to experience Him is heightened and made more palpable by the voices of others in community.
Having said that, there are some who do not live close to Ruach, or for health reasons will not be worshipping with us in Needham on a regular basis. As I was chatting about this with our virtual group after services last week, Gary’s quip about oneg haZelda, or oneg haZoom really struck home. The Zoom technology actually has given us a real world experience analogous to having faith in an unseen God. When we experience HaShem’s presence through Zoom services and in our Zoom discussions at oneg, our ability to do so through unseen airwaves is not unlike having faith in God, whom we can’t see. Some of our Zoomers are from thousands of miles away and yet through seemingly mystical, invisible means, we are together, in real time, with real video and sound as if we were in the same room. Zoom technology is as mystical to some of us as our Abba’s ability to be with us no matter where we are. Through His boundless limitless reality and our trust in Him and love for each other, we are able to share the love He pours on us whether through invisible Zoom airwaves or in person worship at Ruach. Our faith in Him is limitless, as is His ability to be with us, literally to meet us where we are.
Being at Ruach on Shabbat morning for those who can is a blessing not to be lightly taken for granted. Being on Zoom on Shabbat mornings for those not able to be at Ruach is a blessing, one which suggests through technology the boundary-less ability of our unseeable Abba to bind us together in love. If we can be so loved via Zoom, how much moreso is the power of love He showers on us in all ways, at all times, everywhere.
I am so appreciative of those on Zoom who will be keeping the onegs going when I am at Ruach. Just as when we come to Ruach we serve, so too, I encourage those of you on Zoom to serve as moderator now and then, for serving our spiritual communities, physically at Ruach or on Zoom, only magnifies even further His Presence in all of our lives. We become blessed beyond measure, here, there, everywhere.
May both communities in Him flourish in these days.