Is Sunday worship a “good show”?

Obviously, Sunday worship contains what I delineated from the BCP in my last post:

we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul.

BCP, Morning & Evening Prayer

Nonetheless, this leaves a wide leeway for stuff you can do, doesn’t it?

The thread that sparked my last post said that cancelling Sunday morning worship a few times a year was important because it helped prevent the staff from becoming burnt out from working every Sunday. Truly worshipping God is more important than being known for putting on good shows. And cancelling church to do something neighbourly shows said neighbours we care about them more than putting on said shows.

Hold the phone.

Putting on good shows?

. . .

Putting on good shows?

I never knew this was essential to fulfilling the BCP’s four/five bullet points about what we assemble and meet together to do on Sundays.

My dad is an Anglican priest. Most of my life, I have attended Anglican churches. Anglican churches almost never cancel church. Maybe if there’s a gunman down the block and your church is on the other side of a police blockade. Sure, you can cancel church then.

Also, though: My dad, as a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada, got a month of holidays. Who would put on the show while we were off camping???

Fun fact: An Anglican service of Morning Prayer, or even Morning Prayer and Antecommunion does not require a priest (you need a priest to celebrate Holy Communion but can do the earlier part of the service without one). And what to do is all there is whichever service book your parish uses. All you need is a layperson to lead the service. Preparation is not very extensive.

But what about the music? Well, a normal Anglican service has 3 hymns. Many churches have more than one person capable of leading these three hymns. Or, if you have contemporary songs, you might have enough guitarists to lead. Or even this: No musicians at all.

This can be done.

I have to confess though: It may not be a good show. Maybe not even when your priest is there. Maybe not even if you have paid musicians.

Unless there’s a lady playing the saw, of course.

Because the church-canceling pastor was right: It’s not about putting on good shows.

It never should be.

It’s about the people of God assembling together to praise him, thank him, hear His Word, and ask him those things that are requisite and necessary.


One thought on “Is Sunday worship a “good show”?

  1. Yesterday afternoon, Sunday 18th December our pastor & priest, Simon, was planning to put on a good show . We purposely moved it from the usual morning service to the afternoon, to make it more convenient. It was our pre-Christmas carol service. We had all put a bit of effort into making it attractive for friends associated with the church in the surrounding community, especially young families of the moms and toddlers who regularly come to our little playgroup and social gathering held every Wednesday. We decorated the building, we had canvassed and handed out leaflets, and prepared refreshments. Then emergency: Sunday morning we had to scavenge from family and friends spare electric heaters, because the church gas central heating boiler decided to die that day! Dartmouth was engulfed with cold driving rain after several days of sub-zero Northerly winds. At the last moment I got a phone call informing me that one lady’s EV car refused to start due to water ingress, and she had promised to transport three other ladies to the service. I rushed off in a car to rescue the ladies getting soaked in the rain while awaiting their lift. Back in the church there were plenty of empty seats to chose as those ladies filed in a little bit late. The weather was too inclement for most people invited.

    The service continued as Simon had planned despite there being no children to come forward to the crib scene; no children to play a part in his Christmas story that involved unwrapping gifts reminding us of what Christmas is about. A jolly Santa Claus toy was unwrapped. “That’s got no place in the story. I’ll put that with all the other gifts under the Christmas tree”, said Simon. Next, a figurine of the Christ child was unwrapped. “This is the center of our story and the center of our worship”, Simon announced, placing it in the manger.

    Why am I relating this insignificant little incident? It is to do with continuing to be the Church in our local community, even when things don’t go according to plan; not giving up on worship, making known the words of the scriptures, communicating and blessing those in the community in which we live and serve.

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