Monday, 21 November 2016

Church and all that stuff


Not my congregation  - a generic picture of a Church.




If I have not love I am a Kazoo (St. Paul)



I have not been at my local Church for four Sundays.


The first week because I was the "supply Priest" at another congregation.

The second and third weeks because I was spending time with my family members who were visiting from the U.K .   Time with them was more important than time at Church.

Yesterday, well yesterday because I could not summon a compelling reason to be there.

Don't get me wrong.  I attend a "Lake Woebegon" parish where all the people are above average.  We have a solid and like-able new Priest in Charge.  The Word is preached with dignity and respect.  The bread and wine are shared with reverence and joy.  It's a pretty good place to be on Sunday mornings.

Yet, yesterday nothing drew me there.  I had no sense that life would change much, or that my faith would be enriched (or challenged)  whether or not I attended.

The "problem" is not with my parish.  To those readers who know the congregation whereof I speak -  please know that this is not a critique of that place or people, or leadership  FAR FROM IT.


The issue is that the older I get, the more earthly minded I get.  


At aged 72 I am not much concerned with heaven hell, eternal life and all that.  I have no need to be concerned because my future is out of my control, it is in the hands of a loving, just and gracious God,

But I am concerned with the generations which are to come: for instance my nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, forty three of them)

I worry more about their earthly future than my eternal destiny.  

Will they live in a world with massive food and water shortages? (that's almost certain). 

Will they live in a world with autocratic and oppressive governments? (it's already happening).

Will they live in a world torn apart by racial prejudice, injustice and violence? (it's already here).

Given my gloomy prognostications, rooted in fact as they are, it is hard for me to believe that "the Churches"  whether Evangelical, Liberal,or  Conservative  (i,e, not just my parish and my denomination), are able or willing to prepare people  for the incredibly dangerous world which awaits us and our heirs,

To the contrary I find that the chief concerns of most religious congregations (Christian, Jewish, Islamic etc) have to do with survival and self preservation.

That is not compelling for me, that's why nothing drew me to attend Church yesterday.

Of course I will probably  be there again soon,  out of a sense if loyalty and appreciation to my Pastor , and deep personal affection for many other members.

But I can understand why many people break free from the habit of Church attendance, not because they no longer believe, but because the message of the Church is all too often akin to the blowing of a Kazoo in the Music of a great and rich Symphony.


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