Not a question about whether to watch the election coverage on Twitter or listen on the radio, nor about where to start with the housework (the answer to that, of course, is ‘ANYWHERE. NOW.’), but a question about church. This Sunday I played the keyboard for 3 of the 4 songs in our morning service. This was a big achievement for me, as I failed Grade 5 piano over 20 years ago and haven’t improved much since.
Thankfully, Happy played flute to give people the tune and the Queen and lovely church member BigVoice sang, so my fumblings weren’t too exposed. Happy found it a little stressful, tho’. He was also leading the first half of the service, so he was hopping up and down from the front to grab his flute after introducing the songs.
This is a typical dilemma for us on a Sunday: who should be doing what? In the last year since we arrived in parish I have prepared after-service refreshments, operated the sound desk (and played the cds which usualy provide our musical accompaniment), led services, run youth bible studies during the sermon, operated the computer that projects our songs and liturgy and played the keyboard for songs (this is the latest string to my bow). Almost everything apart from preaching and communion, really. I’m so thankful to be unqualified for those. I’ve not yet helped in the creche or Sunday school either, but not because it’s something I don’t feel able to do.
Obviously I can’t do everything I’m able to every Sunday. But sometimes it feels like I should be, as existing leaders are tired and worn out, or just don’t exist. (Anyone know a pianist who fancies joining a friendly inner city West Midlands church?). Somehow we need to work out what’s important and do that well first, and train others, before moving onto the next thing. So we need wisdom AND patience. As does our congregation, who do so much aswell, not just on Sundays, but throughout the week.
My old friend MacGirl is also a vicar’s wife. She wrote to me the other day about their church, where nearly everyone is over 65 and her husband is slowly trying to bring in the changes needed if the church is to live and grow again.
I can’t be in more than one place at a time…So we are taking decisions we hope carefully and wisely so as not to over commit my time…Our brains run through all kinds of scenarios that we would like to implement, but we can only go at the pace the church can cope with. I’m really learning to be patient.
Patience and wisdom always feel like they are in short supply here in our Vicarage. I’m praying that we grow in both these spiritual fruit as we try to make our Sunday services a place where believers and non-believers alike will feel welcomed, built up and challenged. Phew. At least I’ve not just been appointed to the government. Now there’s a job that’s going to need wisdom and patience (from the rest of us).