Today is Easter Sunday and churches are closed everywhere. Supermarkets are open, chemists are open, even garages and off-licences are open. In the town where I live there is a shop selling nothing but sweets that is still open. But churches are closed and the substitute offered is online.
This is what I think. Online services have no spiritual validity whatsoever. They are a mechanical imitation of the real thing which exist on a materialist level only. The words may be the same, the formal ceremony may be very similar but the spiritual force is just not there. How could it be? The spiritual cannot exist in the virtual. It is not a materialistic thing that can be reproduced through algorithms and those who consider this in any way a satisfactory replacement for the true interaction of human beings in the real world have no comprehension of what spirituality is. Where two or three are gathered together, there I am. But they are not gathered together if they all sit in their isolated rooms staring at a computer screen. It's like thinking you can be fed while looking at a menu.
I know there will be all sorts of specious explanations as to why this is better than nothing or has been done many times before for the elderly who cannot get to church or is not different to services on the television (also spiritually useless in my opinion), but these are all self-deceiving excuses. The spiritual cannot be reproduced by the material, and computer technology is materialistic to its core.
You see, it all depends on what spirituality actually is. Is it just the outer form and words or is it an inner reality that may be conveyed by the words but goes beyond them? Clearly, it is this latter but that cannot pass through machines or remotely and if you don't understand that, you are a long way from the living truth of God.
By accepting an imitation as valid you lose your connection to the authentic. I personally feel that the churches have long lost that connection anyway and if they hadn't, they would never have contemplated offering this parody of reality as a satisfactory substitute for it. It is a capitulation to the forces of secularism and this closing of the churches at Easter is surely conclusive proof that the churches no longer serve their supposed Master. Don't bother attending an online service. Rather, go out into the open air. Stand in your bare feet on the grass and make your prayers to God there. He is to be found in the wind and the trees, the blue sky and the bright sun. Also, of course, in the human heart that is turned towards him. He is not to be found through a computer screen.
Is Christianity supposed to be about making good men or new men? Surely the teaching of Easter is that it is the latter. Resurrection of the spiritual self from the death of the earthly self. But the modern churches seem to believe that it all about being good and good, what is more, in the secular sense of a generalised humanitarianism according to the philosophical grounding of the French Revolution which was a complete rejection of God. The church, especially the Church of England (as a body, there are plenty of individuals for whom this is not the case), has increasingly incorporated the teachings of its enemy as its core principles.
Note: Lest I be accused of hypocrisy I should add that a post on blog is not like a church service. Computers are good for some things such as conveying information and ideas but cannot serve as a medium between God and Man as, ideally, a church service should.