By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
—Hebrews 11:3 (NRSV)
DONNA SCHAPER | One of my friends, Pastor Eric Elnes, says he is building the “new Jerusalem” in the metaverse. Most of my friends prefer the shopping aspects of hybrid worship more than the communal aspects of place-based worship. They can go to the great cathedrals, hear the great music, pass by the offering plate. They like the invisibility and magic of the digital and the virtual. Those who demur often brag about being less individualistic, more embodied, more willing to rough the tumble of the genuine human, instead of the talking or invisible heads online.
Both join Eric in destination.
What did the authors of Hebrews think? They clearly thought that faith helps understand- ing, which then sees the invisible in the visible. They “see” that the worlds are made by the word of God.
I almost get it: faith is why we worship. The world of God made fresh in the regular word of God is the point of it all. The origin as well as the destination. The creation and the redemption. The alpha and the omega.
Being a Gemini, I love both. The hybrid timelessness and the 11am weekly habitual stuck- ness in time and place. The good singing and the wish-I-could-sing singing. The great sermons and the ones that struggle to make their point. Nurturing faith is the point of worship; it likely doesn’t matter how you get there. It does matter that you get there.
PRAYER When we are out of gas, O God, on our long way to the New Jerusalem, let worship of both the invisible and the made-visible fuel us. Amen.About the Writer:
DONNA SCHAPER works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her most recent book is Remove the Pews.

Source: “Running from Empty” | 2023 Lent Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.