Thursday, March 19, 2020

How to Worship Using the Live Stream

At this point in our new coronavirus reality the vast majority of our parishioners are worshiping using one of our live streams. We have heard from some of you that Facebook is not convenient for you. Establishing a YouTube live stream is not as easy as one might assume, so at least for now, we will live stream on Facebook using video, continue our high fidelity audio stream, and try to get a YouTube live stream started as soon as possible. You can find links to each of our streams below.


Now – to the question at hand: how does one worship at home? This is an important question. There is most certainly a wrong way to do it and a right way to do it. We’ll talk about the right way – then we’ll cover the wrong way.

Here are the steps – they are all important. There is a HUGE temptation to cut corners here. Don’t fall to that temptation! Success only comes before work in the dictionary. If we want to be successful in these remarkable times we have to work – and this will take work.

1. Worship together. The idea is that we would all worship together live – as we do when we are in God’s House. Don’t fall to the temptation to watch the service later on your couch. We do not watch the Divine Services. We are not spectators. We are participants. Participants participate, and this only works if we all worship together at the same time. Get the whole family together – ideally in the place that you say prayers together as a family. Light the oil lamp. Light the censer and put on incense if you have a home censer.

2. Get dressed for church. That’s right: take a shower, shave, do your hair, put on your church clothes. Do whatever you do when you go to church. We won’t know if you are in your sweats and a tshirt, but you will. And you will feel it. It is hard to get into the paradigm of “we are worshiping” if you are dressed like you are going to work in the garden. Gardens are good. If you wore your church clothes to work in the garden you would feel pretty weird. You should feel weird if you wear your grubby clothes to worship God the Holy Trinity. You might not be in His House, but you can make your house His House in a small way if you work for it – so please do.

3. Turn off the radio, the television, all the screens, and any other distractions. Put the cell phones on silent. Then put the cell phones in a box and put the box as far away from the place you are worshiping as possible. You are not worshiping if you are texting or checking Facebook. God deserves our full attention. Of course you have to have one phone in the space where you are worshiping, but you can suppress notifications on that phone and you should.

4. After the service take a moment and pray for those that need prayers. If you have your own list: use it. If you don’t – use the parish list:


5. After the service have a meal. What do we do at St. Vladimir’s after the banquet that is the Divine Liturgy? We continue our fellowship by sitting down to have a meal together. This was the practice of the very Apostles – and they used to worship often in houses with the faithful. Yes – this isn’t the same meal as we have on Sunday with all our brothers and sisters, but it is the tradition and we should follow it.

No one will see if you followed these guidelines. Except God. And your guardian angel come to think of it. And we should care WAY MORE about that than we do about whether our friends see our new dress or tie. These guidelines are to HELP YOU. We need the strength that we can glean from the Divine Services, but to receive the Grace of God we need to prepare ourselves. We need to work. And if we work, and we ask God’s help, we can have great hope that we will have success in this work. And by the way, Liturgy essentially means “work of the people”. Let us work brothers and sisters, to keep the love of Christ alive in our hearts during this time, and let us work to keep it alive in our community!

Fr. Gregory

P.S. We forgot – what is the wrong way? There are many of course, but we can sum them up in one phrase: the wrong way is to do it other than the way we’ve suggested above. :)

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