The church as gathering?

This morning yet again we don’t gather in worship. We sit in isolation from each other and pray, or do daily readings, maybe we just listen… the birds are so loud! We do not gather and it will be some considerable time before we do. Some of you have been told that you must not venture out for twelve weeks and there are eight weeks to go and we have all been told that for the next three weeks we must continue to stay in. When we do reemerge, if it is this summer, there will be no ‘herd immunity’ and no vaccine so gatherings are likely to still be restricted and the demographic of the rural churches means that they will be diminished in size should they reopen. Because of this there is a huge emphasis on technology as a way of keeping in touch and of ‘doing church’ but I wonder if the texture and the tone of these meetings allows for the nuances of human interaction that we are really longing for.

I am reminded as I write this of our church services and how we enjoyed them. It is never about content, at least not from a single person or even a group who lead the worship. It was about all of us IN worship, in voice, in silence, in motion, at the communion, over coffee and in prayer. Sometimes this lead to times of worship that truly put a smile on our faces, filled us with an assurance of Gods presence and inspired us.

So I suppose that this short comment, this Sunday morning, is really and apology for not producing on-line worship for you all to watch. I just don’t feel that anything I do alone will replicate the ‘gathering’, the place, the ‘communion’ that we have experienced and loved. I would rather look to how we can live our faith in new ways than seek to replicate, in a very limited way, the ‘performances’ that happen in our worship on a Sunday.

As I sit here this morning I lovingly picture you all, the odd collection that we are. So different in so many ways. across all the social strata of our society, holding very different views, living diverse lives. I thank God for you all. I thank God that we are different and that our Gathering is a witness to diversity and tolerance, that is is a clear sign to a divided world that a common vision of humanity loving God and neighbour is possible. I love that we disagree, that we grumble and get bored, I love that we go round in circles in our decision-making and take ages to get things done. I love that people matter more than progress and as a family we have to learn to live together.

So lets gather on a Sunday in solidarity… over a cup of tea and remember each other and be in communion with one another. And may God Bless us all.

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