I'm scheduled to preach @ St. Bartholomew's this Sunday on a great passage.... the landowner that comes out several times the same day and gets some laborers to work for him. I'll post it here later in the week.
I want to float this out for you... out there in cyberland..... I have a question for you that I can't answer.
Why do people sit in the back 1/3 of any given church? I DON'T GET IT. Coming from a theatre background, I know about playing to the hard-of-hearing lady in the back row tucked beneath the mezzanine.... but in churches - at least in these parts - the mezz. is usually populated by the organist and the choir.
Why does the congregation sit that far back?? In response to my question I have heard either a simple explanation or a simple statement: 1) because I may need to leave early or 2) because I ALWAYS sit here.
In these last 20 years of my church-going life I have become a radical moderate. Balance tradition with contemporary, keep services meaningful to many in the congregation, preach a Gospel of love and justice, offer a homily that is thought provoking, pray the prayers (instead of reading them). Now my more radical self is wanting to see the space in church used to its fullest potential which may mean losing some of the pews or, at the very least, loosing some of the pews.
I know that times have changed for the church. These days it is as likely that a person or family tries to "fit" church in on a Sunday amidst other commitments as it is for a person or family to make church the single constant and other commitments the add-on.
What can we do to make the Word of God, the study of that Word, the proclamation of that Word so compelling that someone can't wait to go to church (and perhaps sit toward the front when they get there)???
I'd love it if you could write me here to share what is going on in your congregation re: renewal, evangelism, use of church space and property, music and worship that has put a spark into your spiritual life. If you don't mind sharing your name and parish, that would be great! The address as always: firstname.lastname@example.org
. Looking forward to your mail!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
p.s. also, related to my posting last week, had a trip to the doctor and am now "free and clear" of the colon cancer. They caught it early. Will have frequent check ups for the next year, but other than that, my job now is to live thankfully one day at a time, look forward to a grateful future and regain my strength (without doing my habitual over-booking!). Thanks very much for all your well-wishes and prayers.