Like many others around the world, I attended “virtual church” this past Sunday, as I expect to do for some weeks to come. The church I attend has been livestreaming services for nearly a year, but with virtually (no pun intended) every faith community going online this week, the broadband network was, to use a Biblical term, heavy laden.
After a briefly rough tech start, the service proceeded amazingly smoothly. Until it didn’t. Smack in the middle of the pastor’s sermon, the broadcast was suddenly without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the screen.
The chat box lit up with kind and gentle feedback to the folks running the show, from a tech standpoint, and they replied that they were working on it. I know these people, a multigenerational group of skilled and experienced professionals, and I’m sure they were. I can just imagine them doing what I would have done, plugging and unplugging, booting and rebooting, in a feverish attempt to re-establish the connection.
Within about five minutes, we were directed to switch to Facebook Live, where, with only slightly lower audio quality, all several hundred of us were able to rejoin the service.
Here’s what I later learned. While the tech team was trying what they knew should have worked, a college freshman who had been helping to lead the singing earlier in the service, pulled out her phone, and started broadcasting through Facebook (which we’re told, incorrectly, of course, that people her age don’t use anymore.)
Like airline passengers (remember the days…) reacting to an announcement that their departure gate had been changed, we all migrated, en masse, to the alternate platform. The Gen Z musician had enabled the Gen X pastor to deliver the message to Millennials, us Boomers, and everyone else, watching and sipping coffee at home. (I think I’m going to recommend that the coffee thing become an option once we all get back together in the same room.)
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll have read our encouragement, to workers of all ages, to stop whining about people who happen to have been born in a different decade from ourselves, and work hard to learn from one another.
We’ve never needed each other more. I, for one, plan to start listening more, sharing more, and judging less. Will you join me?