Thursday, 9 February 2012
but I don't like it... thoughts on inclusive worship
Can a congregation ever be fully inclusive?
Is a congregation ever completely 'of one mind' in all things?
I'm inclined to think 'no' and 'no' - sometimes not for lack of trying... and sometimes for lack of trying!
I am coming to the opinion that we hang a lot on 'being inclusive' and that we hang an even heavier load on one act of worship.
We want worship to be:
vibrant and exciting;
a place of quiet contemplation;
filled with children and young people...
or rather that the ones we have were not quite so noisy thanks;
we want symbols - candles, stones, incense: a sensory feast;
we want simplicity and none of this cluttering up the place;
a solid teaching sermon;
a place to hear our shared faith stories;
we want to be entertained...
we want to be doing the entertaining;
we want to be up close and personal to God with us...
we prefer the awesome mystery of God transcendent;
we like the sense of gathering as a community and chatting with and seeing friends;
we'd rather be left to worship in peace, and don't share the peace with me thanks very much.
All this to try to pack into one hour of worship?
No. I don't think so.
Let's liberate that one hour in a week consisting of 168,
in a month comprised of c.730,
in a year containing c. 8 766.
Let's shoot for a variety of ways over a period of time in which we gather together to give our focus to God. And even then:
we want worship to be a consistent experience every time...
we like to mix it up a little.
Let's be a little kinder on ourselves as folk who conduct worship and as people who are led in worship...and recognise the parodox of inclusivity:
inclusivity is not 'one size fits all';
there is no magic formula.
The annoying thing about celebrating diversity is that annoyingly, everyone has different ways/ preferences when it comes to worship.
And maybe focus less on what we're 'getting out of worship' and instead on what we're putting into it?
Dunno, maybe could work...