I’ve been doing a Lent Roadshow these past few weeks. Seems to me that I need to be out there as Teacher and Guardian of the faith – giving account of,the faith that is in me. It’s part of what the bishop is for.
But of course it’s never quite like that in the Scottish Episcopal Church. I guess that there were about thirty of us there.
The first question/comment was in the area of ‘have we lost mystery and authority in our worship since we moved away from the Authorised Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer?’ From there a discussion developed about how we can have worship which engenders a sense of mystery. We noted the recorded growth in congregations at Cathedrals and the attractiveness of services such as Choral Evensong to people in the so-called Post-Modern Age.
We also talked about Mark 2 of the Nine Marks of Mission – Worship which renews and transforms – and the way in which it challenges us to shape worship which is not just liturgically correct but which also leaves the worshipper with a sense that ‘something happened’ and that they have been part of something significant. That in turn led to a good conversation – talking again – about the use of silence in worship
I said again – which is code for ‘I keep saying this and nobody notices’ – that our worship sometimes lacks impact because we ‘overdose on friendliness and accessibility’
There is something here which we need to learn more about. I think it is that particular forms of worship and the denominational culture of churches and congregations may be off-putting to the person exploring church. But mystery is not. Neither is integrity – of striving to ‘be the ones that we say we are.’