Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another brilliant solution to life's persistent problems

The problem, people: churches all worship at the same TIME.

argal: we can never go visit other churches.
Sometimes we get a brief opportunity in the summer, when one church goes to an early service, and another doesn't, or if you church has "special services" or retreats or whatever that you can escape. Sometimes churches get big, and go to multiple services. But if (like me) you prefer small churches to big ones, and you've committed yourself to preaching, singing, teaching, greeting, or just BEING at a particular church -- there goes your ability to be friendly or ecumenical on Sunday mornings. Believe me, it's a problem, because you also don't find out about the wonderful things other churches are doing, or the problems they're running into (and maybe you could help), or encounter their faith and have it test and try and strengthen your own.

okay confess: the real problem is that I have a church-crush. As loyally and deeply in love as I am with the church I serve, there IS this other church in town, full of young exciting fun people, and they DO really kick butt at singing in harmony, boldly, loudly, and on some of my favorite sacred harp tunes, and, well, I'm a little smitten.

Now the solution to this problem. I've thought long and hard about it for about ten minutes and I know what we should do. I may not be the most pragmatically-gifted person around but I sure can whip up a crazy vision.
We should have church on a rotating schedule. You can still observe a day of rest, or hiking, or gardening, or whatever it is you do to reconnect in a special way one day of the week, but this is how it will go: Our church will worship on Monday mornings, and you will worship on Tuesday afternoons, and someone else will take Wednesday evenings, and between the gazillion churches (and house-churches and fellowships and what have you) in this county, we can all go around worshiping until our voices fail in exhaustion. I'd still have a home-church, but I'd know I'd be welcome to go drop in and participate with you. This would also solve the problem of pastoral burnout (because as it is on Sundays, we never get to just relax and be led in worship, we're always leading and working) and it would help us in our ecumenical efforts to be Church instead of churches.

Okay people, for serious -- it's Pentecost today. This is a holiday that is all about breaking down the barriers of language and tribe. I was very happy to participate in an evening hymnsing that united several churches this evening. But we should do it more than every blue moon (every "fifth Sunday" as it happens to be). And I think sharing more bread, more wine, more songs, more TIME with each other is the direction to go.

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