it was a random, yet not so random conversation. it was about the holidays, Christmas to be specific and how this young newlywed couple would be spending it. it's hard when you first set out to figure where you go when...especially if there's a her side, a his side, the other side and what not. families are intricate. in the course of conversation, i tried to dig a bit and guide gently and ask "so what is at the heart of the holiday for you? i mean what matters most?"
rather unsurprisingly there was no mention of church. worship. Jesus. o holy night. nothing like that. curious i thought. time with family became the #1 thing that mattered most. okay yeah... families are important, i get that... except of course the holy family, because very few people seem to make the connection between them and the holiday... aside from you know a cute little baby.
grrr... i have organists who are in a feud about who plays when for Christmas because no one wants to give up time with their family... folks complain about the time of worship interfering with their opening of gifts or their family's soup supper. really people? Christmas is about you after all. so i say let's not have "services" at specific times. the hell with it. we'll just leave church open for quiet meditation on Christmas eve... this way people can come when they want. and while they are here they can do what they want. they can sing the hymn they adore, which for some reason didn't make the worship bulletin.
there are far too many silly expectations! what happened to a yearning to connect to the divine? perhaps then this is my calling for worship... to help them make the connection. to help them look beyond the soup and packages. to help them open themselves up to the reality that this is not about them... and only them. that really it is about all of us... even the people we find repulsive. even the people who have done horrible things. didn't this child come for them too? and because he did, can't we just empty out some of that hatred we've been carrying around... for "those" people... *sigh*
it's a crappy time of year to be a pastor. i know other pastors face the exact same predicament. but i'm wondering if anything we do in worship, matters anymore? do words just fill the air and ride away on a breeze? why worry about crafting worship as an experience... when folks just want to sing their favorite carols, watch the children be cute and go home? because it's shallow... and the world is filled with shallowness... the mysteries of god are so much deeper, and that scares most. they don't want to go there... and yet deep down, i think they do... they're just afraid of what they might discover. it's a raw, emotionally raw time of year. i'm having trouble navigating. anyone else?
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Wednesday Festival: Is There Any Holy in Holiday Any More?
Hotcup mused recently at her blog about the tensions between Christmas celebrations and Christmas worship...and navigating those as a pastor. Please join in the conversation in comments here, or at Hotcup's Happenings...and if you blog about this at your own place, do leave a link.
Posted by Mary Beth at 3:57 PM