Thursday greetings to all.
I want to share an experience I had several weeks ago while leading one of WLP's Sing the Seasons Choral Reading Sessions. This moved my heart so deeply.
After the session was completed, a woman came up to me and asked if she could speak with me. I had never met her before.
She told me that she was a faithful follower of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray, for which I thanked her. Then she said that there was more she wanted to share with me.
She thanked me for being her companion. This struck me as odd, since I had never met her.
She said that around the time that I left my parish of eleven years, Saint James here in Chicago, she also experienced a difficult change in her own life. She had been the pastoral musician in the parish she loved for many years. A new pastor had come into the parish and she was eventually fired from her position, which was devastating to her.
She said that reading my blog helped her realize that there was at least one other person going through a difficult change and a challenging search for a new parish. And that person was me. She followed my blog posts about searching for a new parish, that sojourn that had its many ups and too many downs. But she said that she felt like she and I were companions on a similar journey. Even though we had never met, she knew that there was one other person with whom she was travelling. And she thanked me for that.
I was stunned and moved to tears. I held her hand and felt that a "virtual" companion had become a real companion. Like me, she eventually found a new spiritual home.
Folks, it astounds me how social media can carry the power of relationship. What may seem "virtual" on so many levels is actually quite real, as attested to by this faithful woman. I couldn't help but think that the world of social media can become and has become for many a kind of church experience. Sometimes, without knowing names or faces, we hold each other up and support one another in ways that face-to-face encounters used to do. Now that can be done virtually, but with a similar impact.
Think of all the many times you have reached out on Facebook or other social media platforms to ask for prayer. Think of the many times you have responded to a prayer request on those platforms. This is real stuff. I know, for me, when I pledge a prayer, I pause at my desk or wherever I am when I read a request over my phone, and I focus on that request, asking God for strength and guidance for the person for whom the request was made.
If someone had told me fifteen years ago that this kind of connection was possible, I would not have been able to imagine it.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.