We’ve just had a memorial service at church – a very special time of remembering, telling stories, laughing, crying, eating cake…. It’s been great. Lots of people having lots of conversations.

Various people who wanted to be there couldn’t be. So we had intended to record it. It was all set up, and we had sorted it all out.

Something didn’t work, and we have no recording. No idea what happened, and I don’t really care. Technical stuff is beyond me, and I’m certainly not going to blame anybody.

But it’s got me wondering. However many years ago, it wouldn’t have occurred to us to record services because we couldn’t. I am still uncomfortable about sermons being recorded and “broadcast”, outside the context of the gathering and gathered community.

I know those who weren’t there today will be disappointed not to be able to hear what was said. But what was “said” – and in this case sung and played – was only part of the service. There was, I think, more significantly, also the experience of being together, of seeing each other’s tears and smiles, the handshakes and hugs, the cake (inevitably) and “presence”.

It’s a pity it hasn’t been recorded; there were some lovely things said, and the music was wonderful. But hearing the recording is only a faint echo of the service. And I am wondering now about how much I miss by doing some stuff at a distance because it is more convenient, it demands less of me in the way of making contact with people, and it is just easier – now, I am think, it is also thinner in ways that I might want to pay attention to.


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