Monday, January 11, 2021

Church, but not as you know it.

With the Covid-19 scare prevailing, we have church differently from normal...the normal of two millennia of history!

No singing. The band is a performance unit, rather than a ministry unit. One Bible-reading, one prayer, one sermon.

So, how could we do it to keep the congregation (the church) involved?

Return to responsive readings. A responsive psalm, and the ol' evensong responses brought up to date.

We could speak the words to songs, rather than 'sing', I understand singing is not allowed. I wonder at the epidemiology behind this, but there you are. Church organisers buckled like a wax doll in a spotlight.

We could chant. Chanting is not singing, surely? Or we could hum the songs, maybe sing sotto voce.

And what about a formal choir? It could comprise whoever was 'on' on the day: signified by whoever turned up. Spaced groups of about 5 at five mutually distant points around the auditorium and 25 people singing. Then change choirs for the next song or hymn (and please, no more Bethel or Hillsong efforts). Just remember, singing is instructed by the Apostles. It is not a 'nice to have'; it is an inherent part of our Christian life.

A few people could do prayers: an intro, the main one, and a dismissal prayer or benediction. Or we could do the litany to involve everyone. This might introduce some dignity into the end of the service rather than the trite 'that's all folks' we too often get...for the meeting of the people of God with his Spirit present? Yeek!

And the band. Always good, but 'leaders'?

We were told the band would 'lead us in song'.

No! Bands, choirs, precentors, not 'lead us'. They minister or serve we the congregation, or any 'doing' words other than 'lead' would work. May be 'let's now sing' or 'let's listen to the band sing for us', etc. But please, they are not a 'leader' or an entertainment troupe, for that matter; although high quality is to be striven for.

Let's get the idea of 'service' back into church life and expunge the worldly idea of 'leadership' with its overtones of superiority, prestige and power, fetching unfortunate images of generals in the military, CEOs in business and party leaders in politics, all with reference to power and influence and preening in the spotlight (the same spotlight that melt's wax dolls, presumably).

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