Have had some time to reflect on the 'Church's birthday' over this weekend.We spent yesterday with our Team for Falcon Afloat 2010 (a holiday for 10-13 year olds in July) and talked through our vision and purpose and many practicalities. It was a great day with brilliant people.
Today we went to church - twice. The usual Sunday morning 10am service with a guest preacher and a special extra liturgy at the end of the Pentecost Eucharist. This was followed by the Churches Together in the Park service in the open air at the Prom...a meeting of our church lives as the CGC band (our 'old' church) led worship and Stephen (our 'new' Vicar) did the address.
Somewhere in the midst of all that, I feel like I lost track of what we're celebrating...we talk about the Church's birthday and the beginning of the church going out into the world....but we seem to think that because 'it' (the tongues of fire, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the passion and enthusiasm of the believers) happened that day in Jerusalem, it has also happened every day since and we're still working within that Pentecost spirit and buzz and clarity. But it hasn't really continued has it? - how much are we regularly going OUT into the world rather than just relying on the world to be there for us to connect with when we feel like it? Events and outreach and evangelism projects are all very well, but we need it to be part of our bloodstream rather than just a switch we can turn on and off when we're in the mood.
The preacher this morning talked about the gift of standing by - accompanying people on the journey and drawing a 'large circle' in terms of the people we share life and involve ourselves with. It was a shame then that this morning, no-one greeted the visitors we brought with us to church and neither was there much mixing of the different church groups at the picnic following the open air service.
It's a big challenge - when we're not even very good at talking to those in our small church circles - to begin to connect with those outside of the circle. A circle of our own making and today, in the prom, comprised more of onlookers than of partakers in the worship and celebration.
This little film was helpful - h/t Rachel Marszalek