Why You Can’t Meet God Over Zoom Virtual services are inadequate — but I keep going

Of course, by “going” the author means turning on a screen and staying home. Watching a service is not the same as worshiping the true God, since worship revolves around faith. People have the same problem in church. Disinterested visitors are loath to be there and participate at all. They are there, but not mentally engaged or present.
To attend public worship, the presence of others is required. To watch a public service can be useful and helpful—the Word of God is not bound by our physical constraints. But there is no public, confessional aspect, in the sense of being seen and heard by others. It is easy to do, and do poorly. What are the repercussions for making a virtual service background noise? Much less than in a public church service.
Communion highlights this truth most fully. If the words are sent out into the digital void randomly, is everything being consecrated by the words of institution (including breakfast foods, orange juice, and milk) or is nothing being consecrated? Since pastors have the duty to administrate the Supper, the latter is the best construction, just like what Lutherans assume about what the Reformed receive for their Communion. Getting nothing but bread and wine is better than condemnation and unworthy eating and drinking.
While virtual services are not a substitute for attending a real-life gathering of flesh-and-blood sinners around the Word of Christ, it still can be good. But how do pastors and fellow members know if people are really watching and participating virtually? The article rightly highlights the public aspect of public worship services. God is not limited by our staying home, but our interaction with fellow believers is most certainly diminished—which is why watching something in private cannot be equivalent to being fully observed by fellow saints in public. The Son of God did not come to us virtually, or only by message, but He came like us, as a man, to redeem all humanity. —ed.

Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/24/opinion/zoom-church-christmas-covid-loss.html