Thursday, 5 June 2014

Church is family - a place of fun not rigid ritual!

Many years ago, when the earth was young, I was a member of a church that gathered on a Sunday evening for an informal service. It was absolutely great but:

 It wasn't because of the clergy (although we always have a sneaky feeling it is, don't we?)

It wasn't because of the liturgy (which being back in ASB time had its challenges)

It wasn't because of the choir or the settings (there wasn't one and there weren't any!)

But it was all about the people who went and the joy, love and relationships that existed in the group and between one another. When things went wrong, we laughed. When things went right, we laughed. When needs were present we prayed for each other and still found time to love, laugh and be family.

One Sunday evening we'd been going through a fairly standard evening service when we came to a song about the wedding banquet. A song we'd sung many, many times (along with 'Tell out my soul as a permanent Magnificat variant) but on this fateful evening the person leading got their 'mords  wuddled' such that the correct version:

I cannot come. I cannot come to the banquet, don’t trouble me now. 
I have married a wife,  I have bought me a cow
I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum, 
Pray, hold me excused, I cannot come.

Was transposed into:
I cannot come. I cannot come to the banquet, don’t trouble me now. 
I have bought me a wife,  I have married a cow!
I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum, 
Pray, hold me excused, I cannot come. 



The place erupted and the laughter brought the service to a glorious close as people fought for breath and tears streamed down faces. This is what Church is about - not being bound up in the strictures of a starched shirt and Brycreemed faith that put me off when I was a child - being willing to laugh at ourselves and taking Jesus seriously.

Oddly, today, with this thought in my mind the 09:30 communion pulled away from the station and onto a journey where wrong readings, misplaced bit and general chaos were all viewed through the carriage windows. And we laughed and we enjoyed it all and God was honoured and the joyous full-colour faith that is Christianity (as opposed to the joyless black and white existence of some) was met.

We had a family party and each, and all, brought what they could to it and took from the table the elements of unity, Grace and joy in the communion.

Now That's What I call Church :-)

2 comments:

Robert Savage said...

Ah yes, Vic, we remember it well, especially as the cow and I are celebrating 43 years of marriage this very day. Thanks for the lovely memory.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

My pleasure and joy - a very happy memory indeed :-)

Happy Anniversary to you both :-)