Saturday, October 23, 2004

I nearly forgot...

to tell you all about the real high point of our Baptism evening. The parents of the youngest sibling, who had clearly not engaged hugely with the church in the past, asked just before they left whether there was any church mechanism for adding a godparent....
I must have looked a bit bemused, but they went on to explain that one of their daughter's godmothers had died of cancer two years ago, leaving H bereft of a special adult, and, formally, of a godparent. I explained that while the church didn't have any formal service, it would be quite possible to create some sort of rite to recognise and bless a new relationship of care, and suggested that H. might like to be involved in doing this. They were completely over the moon...I think they had expected the whole evening to be a coded reprimand for not bringing their older children to church more....perhaps, if this all goes happily, they may actually want to come now. :-)
It is so sad that people expect the church to say "No" all the time..I keep meeting this. People who are pathetically grateful that I will conduct a funeral given that they are not part of the regular congregation. People who don't expect us to "bother" because we don't know them.It's tragic. If the Church is supposed to be a Sacrament of the Kingdom, how on earth did we travel so far down the road away from our inclusive loving God??

3 comments:

Justin Lewis-Anthony said...

I think it's important that we don't continually bash ourselves (I mean those of us who recognise our involvement with and committment to God's Kingdom as expressed in "the Church") when we think about the reasons why people don't respond or haven't responded to the Gospel message. It's never been a popular thing; and we shouldn't believe the storytellers of how marvellous the church was 50 years ago compared with now. If we think that the Church's relative unpopularity is all to do with the way we preach the message, we might forget that the message itself causes lots of people problems: I seem to remember some preacher who had difficulties with popularity — John 6.

Very often people outside the Church exhibit what I call the Busdriver Theory of Ecclesiolgy: a bus driver in Oxford was once rude to me. Therefore I will no longer have anything to do with buses, I think that people who use buses are hypocrites; in fact, I'm not even sure that buses exist. I remain secure in my car or on foot.

The excuses for refusing to engage with the Gospel message are very often monumentally trivial; the underlying causes for that refusal — well, that's more interesting!

Kathryn said...

Thanks Justin...I take your point, and am indeed specially prone to beating myself up at the slightest provocation. Love the bus analogy, and will repeat it to myself at iffy moments :-)

Kathryn said...

PS Justin...An empty blog is a sad thing....do be kind and join us in this strangely addictive passtime.