Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Church Attendance

Sitting looking round my church last Sunday I was once again struck by the age of the congregation. We have all grown old together in the main. There are a few younger ones but not many. Why is this?
Is it the message? Well, the message of love and caring for other is the same no matter what the church is called. This is true of the house churches and other non main stream christian gatherings. Do they keep the message and interpretation of that message as simple as possible? Are the main stream churches to hide bound in their theology that they make the message to complicated?
Is it the way services are conducted? We tend to follow a set pattern. Does this need to change with much more innovation and informality? Should we always emphasise the joy and positive uplift in following Jesus' teachings?
Is it the configuration of the church with immobile pews all facing the front and a pulpit? We have had endless discussions about this.
In my adult novel A CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE, Jim discusses this with his girlfriend Karen.

" I'll stay the night with you," Jim said his voice matter of fact. "I have to be up reasonably early so that I can get home in time to go to church with mum and dad."
" Do you still go to church when you are at home? " Karen asked as they climbed the stairs to her bedroom. " I can't recall you going to church while you have been at the university."
" Yes I still go sometimes when I am at home though I think it is more out of loyalty to mum and dad than out of any true conviction," Jim observed. " It is pleasant for us all to go together as a family."
He lent against the bedroom door frame for a moment lost in thought. "Actually, I suppose it is not only out of loyalty to my parents. There is something about going to church on a Sunday morning that attracts me as well. I can't really explain what I mean to anybody else. Let’s face it. Most of my friends would wince if they heard me talk like this. When I walk through the door of the church after shaking hands with the elder, a sense of peace descends a peace that has nothing to do with the people in the church or with the building. It is something to do with the atmosphere in the room. As the elders and the minister come into the church preceded by one of their number carrying the bible, a feeling of expectation fills the air. It is not the same excitement and expectation which fills a crowd at a football match but a sense of being part of something far more important than mere earthly problems. There is a joy in the hymn singing that does not accompany even the most popular songs. It is as though the congregation is uplifted by their singing and the music, as though they truly believe in the words they are singing. During the prayers, the silence is such that you could hear a pin drop. There is this feeling that all would be well in the world if only everybody would listen to the message. It is strange for an iconoclast like me but during the communion I have felt the presence of somebody else, inside but outside of me so to speak. I know most Christians are sinners during the week and saints on Sunday but they do attempt to follow their creeds. So you see it is not only out of a sense of loyalty to my parents which makes me go to church with them while I am at home."
Karen looked at Jim, her eyes wide with a sense of wonder. " I have never heard you talk like that about anything before."

A CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE an adult novel with explicit sex scenes can be purchased from www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk for downloading as an ebook for all electronic book readers.