I didn’t go to Church this morning. That’s the second Sunday in a row.
I sometimes need to miss Church so that I can discern whether or not I value and need it.
That sounds fairly self centred, and it probably is. At one level I know that I need the discipline of shared worship, a discipline which can move me away from my hubris and self-sufficiency.
But I didn’t go to Church last week or this because Church is the last place on earth where I can pray; the last place on earth where I can expect God’s Word to speak to me.
It’s all too busy, too cluttered, too noisy, too un-focussed. It tries to please too many people for too many reasons.
Church can be very (or fairly) entertaining. It can be informative. It can be a pleasant enough place to meet my friends and colleagues.
There are many other groups and places at which I can be entertained and informed. There are many other groups and places at which I can meet my friends and colleagues. G-d is present in those groups and places too, but as an anonymous and un-named guest.
There are precious few places where I can anticipate a deep encounter with the Living God, a place where S/he is acknowledged, honoured and obeyed.
Church should be one of those places: I/we should expect that our joining with other Christians of a Sunday morning would lead to an encounter with the Holy One.
But it rarely happens.
It rarely happens because Sunday worship is often too busy, too cluttered, too noisy, too un-focussed.
That’s been my experience in the Churches I attend in the SRQ
And it was most probably the experience of the parishioners in those places where I was the Rector.