It’s self-evident that worship through livestream doesn’t carry the full in-church experience. And yet, we can expect that this will be part of our reality for months.
Below are some suggestions on how to participate:
– Gather together at the icon corner, and place the laptop/tablet there. Surround the screen with holy objects. (Or, if you have the livestream on your TV and it’s not practicable to move, then perhaps make the same arrangements around that screen instead).
– Turn down the lights. (You may even find it appropriate to turn the lights on and off with the church).
– Check in with the livestream to make sure it’s operating – we’ll try to begin it around 15min prior to services. When you hear the bell, that’s the time to begin prayerful focus together with the parish community at the church building.
– Pray. Participate as much as possible. Stand, be silent, cross yourself at the appropriate time, venerate the icons in your home, sing the hymns we sing together, light the candles or vigil lamps, have incense, and so on.
– Still dress for church as much as you are able. Don’t try to have a ‘Coffee Liturgy’ or a ‘Pajama Liturgy’. (Shoes are the only exception). Keep as much the same as possible – it will not be like this forever.
– (Needless to say: if you are ill you need to apply this to your circumstances).
– Communion is a physical sacrament, so one can’t do that through livestream. However, you may wish to break the fast with prosphora and a little holy water. Make sure you contact me (or your local priest) to arrange for the sacraments, including Confession, Communion and Unction.
– Otherwise, don’t eat or drink during the service (just like at church).
– Worship as a family. We are a community of faith.
– Be reverent, peaceful & patient, and your children will remember your response.
– Adults need to lead by example. Children will be no more involved than their parents.
– Have children participate as much as is developmentally possible. This includes standing, crossing themselves, any bows/prostrations, and following along in the book; but it also includes lighting candles, having incense, arranging your place of prayer, decorating icons with flowers, cleaning afterwards, etc.
– For young children, perhaps print out a page of the saint or Gospel reading and have them colour it in. Have a mat or blanket which gives the limits of their walking. They may need a quiet activity to keep their hands busy – even one that isn’t explicitly ‘religious’, but keeps them quiet and near the service. Remember, they are outside of church, so they will be much less able to concentrate.
(http://dce.oca.org/resources/line-drawings/ AND https://orthodoxartsjournal.org/orthodox-illustration-proj…/ AND http://ww1.antiochian.org/christianeducation/letusattend)
– If they’re able, try to involve them in decisions about how you can make your icon corner more like church.
– Remind them that this is ‘just for now’, and that we will go ‘back to normal’.
Lastly, a reminder: if you wish to partake of the sacraments – Unction, Confession or Communion – please contact your priest.
From the Facebook page of Fr Andrew Smith