Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Cancelling" Church

Today we had to make a somewhat momentous decision- made some phone calls amongst the church council and decided to "cancel" worship services tomorrow morning. Now, late in the day, as I review listings of cancellations on the news channels, I see that hundreds of churches, including many large city churches in Madison, small town churches, and rural churches, have done the same, but at the time, it felt a little funny making such a decision.

On the practical level, we had to figure out how to communicate the decision around. Wisconsin folk often use good common sense in the winter, but nevertheless, we wanted to let everyone know not to drive out to church for worship Sunday morning.

But on the theological level, it did make me wonder- what does it mean to "cancel" services or worship. In a sense, we don't and can't do that. The church, as the body of Christ, may based on weather decide not to drive out to a church building and gather together on a particular Sunday. But the church "in diaspora" in each home or locale can still worship on their own. It may not have the liturgical flavor of a Sunday gathering, but it can still be church.

We will lift each other up in prayer.

Some of us will sing songs and psalms to God.

We might offer words of comfort and consolation.

Some of us might give attention to the reading of Scripture, especially the gospel lesson for the day.

Maybe we will rest and be calm in the presence of the Lord, in this way taking Sabbath from Sabbath.

And some of us, possibly in spite of denominational injunctions to the contrary, will break bread together in the name of and memory of our Lord.

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