Conveniently, we were in NZ the first couple of Sundays of the New Year. While Tress did ask if we should look for a church to attend on the second Sunday, when we were at Christchurch, there was only one other occasion when the issue of church attendance (here in Melbourne) came up. Now that we’re back to (more or less) regular routines, I have again thought about what to do with church.
A church we have attended a few times is still in its holiday program. The other, we felt required more cultural realignment and demographically, is more suited to people with young families. Someone like us – two Gen X adults with a non-resident adult child – would likely not slip in easily, although as Kiddo pointed out, that would not be a major factor mostly.
So I wonder where we’d end up this and the next few Sundays. A voice inside me somewhere is saying, just sleep in and go to the beach. Years of spending Sundays in corporate worship however, make that hard. No doubt all it’d take is a few weeks of succumbing and I’d be less disinclined to be hedonistic about it all but hopefully, this Sunday would not be that Sunday when I do succumb.
But where do we go to stay away off that no doubt slippery slope?
The aforesaid holidaying church is no different to the two million or so churches in the neighbourhoods of the eastern suburbs here in Melbourne in that it keeps a skeletal existence at home base while its members trot around from Bangkok to Barbados or from Madrid to Miami, with an unmuted display of the present strength of the AUD. (Or it could be from Byron Bay to Merimbula, in which case the might of the AUD hits the holidaymaker). Often, the minister (or Senior Pastor) isn’t excluded from the gallivanting tribes. Somehow, the flocks need less tending in January of each year. Thankfully, I am not in the business of providing such care nor am I any longer involved in providing support to those who do.
So until January disappears along with the late sunsets and February sees us wake from our long siestas, we can’t be sure what we see is what we get, in the churches we are assessing. “Get” not as in receiving, but as in the church as it stands, to let us know what we are in for. Very likely, these local groups in full flight from the end of February onwards, can look and feel significantly different from the muted January versions.
Maybe it is an opportunity to skirt around the edges without indication of commitment. Time to wait can be a luxury I have yet to learn to appreciate.