Monday, 23 April 2012

On not attending Church two weeks in a row (2)

I added this comment to my own blog entry yesterday since a couple of folks thought that I was referring to a particular parish

"For clarification - my musings are rooted in my experiences in congregations in general (six where I have worshiped in SW FL,  and four where I was Rector in MA) - not in any parish in particular."

That having been said, my concern is about the busy, cluttered, noisy and unfocussed nature of much of Church life.

I confess that as a Rector I often thought “the busier the better”, and was rarely if ever open to the heartfelt desire of many parishioners: i.e. to clear away the clutter, and to enable prayer and the practise of the presence of G-d.

Now that I am on the “other side of the altar/pulpit” I have an acute awareness that Church services are not often the best vehicles for:

1.  our encounters with the Holy One;

2.  our sense of dependence upon G-d;

3.our experience of awe and wonder;

4. the ability to listen to what G-d might be telling us from the Bible and in the Holy Communion.

It sometimes seems to me that our Church services are purposefully busy - precisely because we are scared of the prospect of encountering the awesomeness of G-d.

Tomorrow I will write about a couple of experiences of worship in which the presence of G-d was palpable.

1 comment:

  1. Allowing the awesomeness of G-d to intrude on the carefully controlled order of worship is a risky business. One church that takes this risk is St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco. After the sermon, the priest sits down and the congregation is invited to share anything that they sense the Holy Spirit offering through them. Praise stories, new insights, whatever. Who knows how G-d might break in?
    Having said that, I appreciate the calm of the order of worship. But then, I am not a performer or presider, just a communicant.