Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Tia of Christ the King, June 24, 2020

Pastor Tia’s Devotion for June 24, 2020:

Dear Zoomed-in-and-out Saints!

Do you know this feeling of tiredness after a Zoom meeting? This deep exhaustion after having stared at the screen and it’s so hard not to get distracted and to start doing something else (like checking my Emails or turning off the video and muting myself to talk to my kids, or like texting or reading something on Facebook or writing a prayer or watching a video online… you name it).

Well, for months I thought this was due to the tiring power of screens and my lack of exercise. Then, I thought the problem were “the others”. The people I watch during my Zoom calls. People yawning in my face, spouses walking through the scene, dogs barking at postmen, cats stepping on keyboards, book titles in the shelves, tidy living-rooms.

To cut a long story short, none of this is the main issue. The main problem is that I constantly watch myself talking and smiling and sitting. Like in a mirror. Just flipped. Unless you click “mirror my self-view” in the settings. You haven’t noticed this yet? Try touching your right ear in the Zoom picture! Ha! Gotcha!

Because I see myself all the time on Zoom, I am constantly checking on my appearance, my gestures, my facial expressions. (I also monitor closely that my pajama pants stay hidden. And the mess in the back of my room.) This meta-level-life is tiring. And it’s the perfect image for Martin Luther’s famous description of humankind’s original sin. He calls it a life “turned inward on oneself”. It’s a life fully focused on ourselves and our self-absorbing self-interest, missing God in the people around us. There is no space to be “other-oriented”.

In case of the Zoom call, my self-interest to look good on a screen instead of fully listening to the people talking. It’s tiring and actually pretty boring after a while. It’s also a disillusion to learn that my funky, raised eye-brow combined with a slightly indicated half-smile doesn’t look as movie-star like as I always envisioned it.

Thankfully, Zoom found a solution for the problem. It’s called “Hide self-view” (you can find it when clicking on the three dots in the upper right of your own picture). Here is the trick. While everyone else will still see you on their screen, you won’t have to look at yourself anymore. Such a relief to stop self-absorbing myself. Seriously. So much capacity to deeply listen.

If you want to try that new Zoom feeling, join us for our CTK Happy Hour tonight at 7 PM via BYOB.

Outward blessings, Pr Tia!

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