But is it church?

I’ve spent much of this week feeling guilty.  I was in charge of Second Sunday Worship last Sunday.  In a mainly Eucharistic church, the non-Holy Communion week is a challenge. 

The reading was Jesus clearing the money lenders out of the Temple in Jerusalem.  So for the activity (not usually a sermon on Second Sunday) I set up various “cleaning” activities around the church, all with something to think about.  

There were cleaning wipes for hands, with an invitation to think about the things we have done we shouldn’t, and the things we haven’t down that we should (think BCP – we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and done those things we ought not to have done…)

There were shoe shine kits – for us to think about the places we go where we get tempted – whether physically (spending unnecessarily in shops) or in our imaginations (I’ll leave that one to your imagination).

There was paper to write down and offer the things we want to drive out of ourselves, the things we want to leave behind.

And there were dusters, polish and feather dusters – for the times we have failed to care for our environment.  

For those who don’t do activities, there was a discussion group, and for those who don’t do activities or discussion groups, there was music to listen to (or ignore) while praying.

What I expected was that people would move quietly and gently from one activity to the next, pausing where they needed to linger.

What we got was a thoroughly spring cleaned church.  Brooms appeared, dustpans and brushes, there was a happy noisy energy as people set to work.  The place was sparkling by the time they finished.  And I felt so guilty – no -one would ever believe that this wasn’t a set up to get the church cleaned.  I couldn’t see what people would take away to think about, or how it would alter them at all. 

But people have told me what has changed in their lives.  All week I’ve been surprised, and grateful.  It may not have been “church” but it was of God.



5 responses to “But is it church?

  1. All is ministry, whether Eucharistic or a Non-Eucharistic service.

    And the people were exercising their call to be community.

    I think it was a great idea, one that I will store up for the future.

    Thank you

  2. With you on the Eucharist – Non-Eucharist Ministry – I just find non-E takes more work because in our church, the Eucharist Services change seasonally, but are all written. Non-E needs to be devised from scratch each time (well, from the Service of the Word structure).

    One could take the idea further with Work is Worship is Work: all that we do is worship.
    My concern was whether people had been overtaken by the practical act and forgotten the spiritual intention – but as the week played out, I was glad to be proven wrong.

    You are welcome to use the idea – it isn't copyrighted. I allowed half an hour for the activity, although it has since been suggested that we could have a “Word and Work” service of a couple of hours, with exactly what I had prepared.

  3. I wonder if they appreciated it because of the sense of achievement combining with the usual Sunday morning thoughts. Maybe the sense of achievement was like glue for other things?

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