Part 1 (written on Saturday morning)
It's two weeks now since my post Easter break, and I have to say the May Day bank holiday hasnt come a moment too soon...It may be the after-effects of The Arm (still here, still encased in its adjustable cast, but definitely getting stronger: I can now change into 4th gear, to add to my original selection of 1st/3rd/5th & the all too necessary reverse) but I'm definitely much wearier than normal at the moment, and spent Friday's day off doing almost nothing, without a whiff of frustration.This is a busy weekend, with lots happening in both churches plus the licensing of a new colleague nearby on Sunday afternoon & some other bits besides, and though I know I'll love it all when I get to it, at the moment the prospect is more daunting than alluring.
So I'm looking back to Low Sunday with a touch of nostalgia. That was the Day When I Didn't Go To Church, in some shape or form - for probably the first time (other than rare sick days) in something like 15 years.
It was really rather startling how spacious the day was, how much could be achieved when huge slices of time were not committed to church, and so a conversation began (on the site beginning with F) about whether we'd encounter more of God without the strictures of professional religion;
how we might find space to form meaningful community & really explore faith; whether carrying the responsibilty for a community's worship so interrupts our own experience of worship that those in ministry really need another way to pray...
Caroline Too pointed out the limitations of a community which encouraged you to focus above all on the back of the neck of the person in front of you, and I thought of the other places where we sit in tidy rows.
Church as theatre (a place to be entertained)?
Church as airplane (a means of travel - but does that make us passengers)?
Certainly neither of those models would be encouraging.
I'm passionate about community - which is one reason why the Eucharist is so utterly central for me.
It's there that the mish-mash of bruised and broken individuals is transformed, becoming the body of Christ, there that we find our real identity, there that we are blessed to become a blessing.
So for "Sunday church" to work, it needs above all to create real community...something that represents a mixture of all sorts and conditions, - not just a body of the like-minded middle-class, with all their vowels in the proper place. In some places, of course, that can be a challenge.