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I almost slipped and bashed my kneecaps on the way up to the balcony, but the resulting shot was worth it.

In the live video, only about a minute long, followers of the Cathedral's Instagram page and a few curious folks (166 non-followers as of the following Wednesday!) got a birds-eye (Juliet's eye?) view of the entrance of the paschal candle on Holy Saturday.

The Cathedral is shrouded in shadow. All that can easily be seen are the scattering of candle lights, and of course, that one big light.

This was only one of a few little videos and photographs I'd taken during our Holy Week observances, as part of my work as Digital and Creative Ministries associate.

All the way back in 2013, my friend Alex Wilson suggested a project at my field ed parish (St. Paul's in the West End) that would involve live-tweeting portions of the sermons during the service. Whoever was tasked with this would sit in the very back of the church so as not to be distracting to the other worshippers, but we'd share quotes and short reflections on our feed, as a way of allowing the whole world (or at least, all of Twitter when it was still kind of a neat place to be!) access to our parish during the season of Lent.

Believe it or not, at the time I thought this was anathema. "NOOO! How can you expect me to be ON MY PHONE during church?"

Imagine what 2012 Clare would have to say to 2024 Clare who is doing Instagram Live Evening Prayer on Mondays! Imagine what they would say having discovered that 2024 Clare still does live summary/commentating during the 10.30 sermon, but with Threads!

I did my best to keep things subtle, but I'm sure folks noticed me filming or snapping. I was worried about how people might feel about that, and about the response I might get when I posted from the balcony. Would people ask me what the heck I was doing taking video of one of the holiest moments in the holiest service of the church year?

I mean I guess I asked myself that at the time!

Have I become a complete parody of myself, a classic Millennial glued to their phone and letting it mediate every moment, even sacred ones?

Well, yes...but also no, for two reasons.

One is that I kept things short, and I didn't share everything I saw, even though there were things I really wanted to. An absolutely beautiful image of Jeffrey singing the Exsultet in the distance, framed perfectly between the back of Dean Chris and Bishop John's heads? That one was just for me and my noggin to remember -- although I'd love to sketch or paint it someday! (I absolutely put my hand in my pocket for my phone, then stopped; if I'd been sitting unvested in the back row, I might not have!)

I also tried to keep the sharing mostly to things that took place outside -- things that would be visible to the public. This adds a layer of space (a temple veil?) between what we do as a praying community within these holy walls and what we do as public witness.

The other reason?

Well, I figured that out when I saw the view and play counts climbing and climbing.

People were watching, and not just our friends.

What made some of those shared images special is that the vantage point makes the viewer feel like they're a part of us even if they can't be physically present. This creatively re-imagines what it means to be welcoming. How do we get someone to feel intimately connected when they're not there physically? Get some doofus to stand right next to everyone else with their phone, apparently. (Heeeey!)

That shot from the balcony, though? That's a new perspective.

Most of you probably haven't seen things from that angle before. Now you can!

But also? That's what our online friends bring us as well: new perspective.

It's all part of a dance, and I haven't worked out all of the kinks yet. We're in brand-new territory and still figuring out how to find the balance between over-sharing and putting up walls; between love without borders and the things between friends that are too precious to be widely shared.

But over the many years I've been connected to this community, the concern about keeping doors open has remained steadfast.

My little Pixel phone ain't much of a door, but it doesn't have to be a wall.

So if you see me messing around with it during the service, I hope I don't detract from your experience...and please understand I'm prayerfully committed to sharing what is best and most beautiful about us with the whole world.

Because there are folks that really need to see that.