Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We Are Legion, Part I of III

I have been holding this series of posts in for a while now, and I think it all came to a head at Easter Sunday earlier this week.  So, here goes--one today, another later this week, and finally, my sermon on Sunday, all on the nature of Christian community.

Truth be told, our Easter service was a bit of a comedy of errors, including this particular gem committed by yours truly: inviting everyone to stay for coffee and cookies afterwards while we set up for our egg hunt, only to try to turn "coffee" and "cookies" into one word and very nearly saying a rather naughty word that you never, ever say in church.

Thankfully, in the receiving line afterwards, a congregant saved me--he said, "I thought you were going to tell us to stay for cocktails!"  I liked that line so much I kept it.

So yeah.  It didn't quite go off without a hitch.  But considering this was my first Easter preaching without worrying about getting sick in front of everyone from the norovirus, I'm chalking it up as progress.

Really, it's just church's version of Murphy's Law--anything that can go wrong, will.  And as a corollary to that, it will often go wrong in the most spectacularly public setting.  Like an Easter worship.

And I think that maxim is especially true for our style of blended worship.  While we have largely jettisoned the use of our organ, piano, and hymnals (from the 1970's) in worship, our praise team utilizes a highly diverse repertoire of old-timey hymns and newer praise material.  I preach using an iPad and a hands-free mic, but I also do so while wearing a robe and stole.

It's a very Disciples way of worshiping I think--our denomination tries to include a variety of theological perspectives, and it would make sense for us to do the same with our style as well as our substance.

But it also means we avoid cases like this, with separate and very different (in style, at least) worship services.  In those services, because you are specializing, you can focus and hone in more on doing one thing well, as opposed to experimenting with different things.  But it also comes with the corollary effect--for good and for bad--of dividing up the congregation.

We at FCC are too small for a second service, and honestly, I'm not going to push for one until we are ready.  There is something pretty awesome about having the intergenerational fellowship that happens at our church between some of the old-timers who have been stalwarts here for decades and some of our newer folk who have helped breathe new life into a historic parish.

In other words--we aren't in the business of trying to corner a demographic.

And I think that's the way Jesus would want us to go about it.  After all, women as well as men followed Him.  Zealots as well as tax collectors.  Fishermen as well as carpenters.  Gentiles as well as Jews.

So why not young as well as old?

Why not a legion instead of merely a demographic?

The Gerasene Demoniac of Mark 5--which I will preach on this Sunday--says his Legion, for he is many.

Let the church be Legion instead.  Let us be many.

Yours in Christ,

PS: I just learned about this while putting this post to bed.  Please pray for my alma mater, Lewis & Clark College, and our community as we grieve the murder of 19-year-old student Jacob Valdiviezo, who was shot and killed in San Francisco after being apparently mistaken for a gang member.  Please also pray for the victims of gun violence everywhere--their right to live should supercede our right to own guns.

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