Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another. For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night. The span of our life is seventy years, perhaps in strength even eighty; yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow, for they pass away quickly and we are gone.
So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Psalm 90:1, 4, 10, 12
Friday the 13th has taken on new meaning for me.
On Friday, March 13, I woke up to a changed world. The day before, Transfiguration had decided to close its doors due to increasing concerns about the Covid-19 virus. Initially, we announced that we would close for a short time. We knew, however, that we would likely extend that closure. So on Friday the 13th, I woke up feeling – well – untethered.
So, I did what I would’ve done if I’d gone to the office. At 8:00 am, I prayed Morning Prayer. It wasn’t the same as being in the office: I was sitting on my couch and wearing my pajamas. Undeterred by these details and missing the staff with whom I ordinarily pray, I went to Facebook and live-streamed the prayer service. Looking back at that first “prayer-cast” (as I call them), I shake my head. I used my phone as a camera – and the angle was horribly unflattering! I used my precariously–balanced laptop to read the prayers. I didn’t know whether anyone was praying with me, and it didn’t matter. As we neared the end of Morning Prayer, someone wrote in the comments: “What time should we return for Evening Prayer?” Then another: “Yes, please.”
So, a few hours later, I changed out of my jammies, moved to our dining room table, and found a stand to prop my phone at a better angle. I prayed all four services of the Daily Office online, and by Compline a virtual community of prayer partners had formed. Scott and our boys joined for Compline. We prayed together throughout the weekend. On Monday, Fr. Casey and his daughter, Izzy, led Morning Prayer from Transfiguration’s Facebook page. Not knowing how long our sheltering-in-place would last, we decided that Morning Prayer would be a Transfiguration offering, while the rest of the office would come from my personal page. Little did we know how long our virtual prayer community would continue or how large it would grow. We have now been praying together for six weeks. Our group consists of Episcopalians from a variety of DFW churches, as well as Christians in Chicago, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, South Africa, and Taiwan. On any given day, we pray in community with bishops, priests, deacons, laity, and seekers.
We are delighted to share that next week, Transfiguration will begin to offer the Daily Office as a ministry through its Facebook page. Our goal is to allow all these prayer services to “live” in a single place going forward so that all can find us and pray with us easily. Our prayer schedule is as follows:
Monday-Friday: 8 am, noon, 6 pm, and 9 pm
Saturday: 8 am and 9 pm
Sunday: Worship at 9 am and Compline at 9 pm
At some point in the future, sheltering-in-place will decline and people will begin to move about in the world more freely. When that time comes, we will gradually scale back this ministry in favor of in-person prayer and worship. Until then, we remain committed to living as the Body of Christ, dispersed in the world, yet united in prayer. Please join us when you are able. In this way, God is teaching us to number our days, and we are blessed indeed.
God’s keeping and blessing to you all,