Last week I wrote about #loveinthetimeofthecorona–illuminating what or how we can embody love in the world in these very challenging times, especially as believers in Jesus. (And? Did you know, #loveinthetimeofthecorona is actually a hashtag on Instagram and Twitter. If you are on either of those social media platforms, type in the hashtag and be inspired.)
I was originally going to title this wrap-up, “Thank you Al Gore for the Internet” (which is partially true. Thank you Wikipedia). People all over the globe are working and connecting and chatting via Zoom and Facetime, Facebook live and Marco Polo videos and so on, all thanks to the world wide web.
How starved we are for the sight of our friends and loved ones’ faces! And a voice–who knew how we would miss that? I was serenaded last week via Voxer by a friend on the opposite coast as she sang “It is Well” in her lovely alto voice and tears rolled down my cheeks as I harmonized with her.
Our church has live streamed “services” from an almost empty sanctuary (with stuffed animals in the audience) and the attendance last Sunday was nearly double what we have on an ordinary Sunday. This week our pastor shared a message about Jesus calming the storms, with a painting on the living room wall behind him as spoke from his home. Viewers were given his cel phone number to text in answers to trivia questions from the Bible and even the young kids got to play along. Necessity is the mother of invention, yes? Virtual or not, is a great way to be connected with those we know and love.
In that vein I’d like to share some of the goodness I’ve found online with you–a quiet word on how to deal with sadness or fear, and talk to your kids about their feelings. Orchestral music via Skype, a library tour with poet Malcolm Guite, the Quarantine Song from two very talented Grandparents, never before seen photos of crystal clear canals in Venice, Italy and opera singers and everyday folks serenading from their balconies and plazas.
I hope you’ll take some time to listen and watch; maybe you’ll find a way to connect just a little bit more with the beauty and goodness around you.
–Kelly Chripczuk is an online blogging friend whom I have known for 8 years. She is a Spiritual Director and Writer in Pennsylvania and this post on Facebook live about Loss and Lamentation really spoke to me. She has four children and spent some time reading from The Jungle Book, her own book, Chicken Scratch, including an appearance from her small chicks. What I love was the way Kelly provided the means for listeners to work through and name their feelings in this challenging, fruit-basket-upsetting time. You can listen to the video HERE.
–Have you ever wanted a Hobbit to read to you? Malcolm Guite, UK poet, priest and musician has been described that way and I think you’ll find the description fits. Since he is staying at home in Cambridge, England and cannot entertain guests in his library, he invited us all to visit virtually. I had the privilege of meeting Malcolm two years ago and sat for a week in sessions at The Glen Workshop in New Mexico. I can still hear his voice reading poems in my head.
In this particular video via YouTube (Malcolm has his own channel now), he invites readers for a “Spell in the Library” (spell, as in ‘come sit a spell’ as my Texas mother-in-law used to say). Taking C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader from his shelf, Malcolm reads a passage about another library and The Book that Lucy finds there. You can listen to “A Spell for the Refreshment of the Spirit” by clicking HERE. So far, there are 5 virtual visits to Malcolm’s library, with authors from George Herbert, George MacDonald and Lewis–all the classic writers I love.
—Two very creative grandparents (with fabulous voices) were missing their kids and grandchildren so they made this video recording, sung to the tune of Edelweiss from Sound of Music. Here is “Quarantine” for your listening pleasure.
—So many musicians and artists have taken to the Web or Instagram or Twitter to share live concerts from their living rooms. Or their balconies–maybe you saw the video of the Italian opera singer belting out “Nessun Dorma”? And the everyday people of Italy, who have been hit the hardest, still find a way to bring joy to the world with their music. In the U.S. two to three dozen community members who live at Opera Plaza in San Francisco came together on Wednesday to perform a one song singalong of “This Land is Your Land,” standing six feet apart and lifting each others’ spirits.
–Although people are isolated, music does indeed bring people together, as witnessed by this recording from members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic from their separate living rooms. This is Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
–Would you like Some Good News? Actor John Krasinski decided to learn how to do Zoom calls from his home office in California just to share good news from around the world. Watch this 15 minute “show” of the kindness, humor and good deeds. It will make your day.
Lastly, here are images and video of the canals in Venice, Italy, clearer than they’ve been for 60 years because of the drop in tourism and the overabundance of humans vanishing in a short period of time. Swans have been sighted for the first time in years as well as schools of fish.
Travel and Leisure magazine had this to say, Some social media users are hoping that the coronavirus shutdown could act as an “ecological reset” for the world’s busiest cities. Last year, Venice was flooded, causing an estimated $5.5 million in damages to the city. Residents have been campaigning for reduced tourism in an effort to preserve the city’s infrastructure.
The clarity of the water and things coming into view is not because of less pollution per se, but because the thousands of boats that usually travel the canals are not stirring up sediment that has kept people from seeing what’s actually there.
I mentioned this phenomena to a friend last week who pondered, “Wow, how long would it take God to clean out the canals of my heart, the places where sediment has been murking up the water and making it hard to see?” It only took four weeks for the Venice waterways to right themselves; the people are praying the changes will last.
I pray for all of us, in this grand upset, the reset of priorities and perspective, that the lessons from #lifeinthetimeofthecorona will stay with us for a very long time. We need to look to the One who wears the corona, the Crown, our saviour Jesus.
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