Friday, April 16, 2010

Emerging ministers and the Liturgical Calendar

Good morning God,
Don't you think it's ironic that so many ministers are tired out by Easter and that far from being energised and inspired by the discovery of the risen Christ, they tend to be exhausted and drained by the demands of Holy Week..
It's about now that most ministers are beginning to  emerge again... but emerge to what?
The Church places great store on its  two great times of preparation - on Advent and Lent
We invest an astonishing amount of time and effort into waiting and on being ready to receive you when you come to us as the baby Jesus or the risen Christ... with our lent study groups, and advent calendars, lent liturgies and advent rings, Christmas trees and advent crosses..
We even manage to turn Easter into a time of waiting - Christ is alive - now wait for the Spirit...
another 40 days...

But when the Word becomes flesh..?

and when that same flesh is risen?
and when the Spirit is given?
What then...?

There is something comfortable, reassuring and faith affirming about the rhythm of the liturgical year, but there is also something deadening, numbing and faith destroying. We are lulled into a sense of order and conformity by the routine expectations.. Christ will rise on Easter Day,  the Spirit will come on Pentecost - and once that's done we will be once again in  'Ordinary time' - until Advent of course...
And we know what to do, we have the right words to say to take us from Advent to Easter and back again. 'We've always done it this way before'.

Christ is risen..
he is risen indeed, 
so what?

So we can get back to the business of being Church week in and week out..?
So we can wait for Christ to come again?
and again..
and again..

The challenge that we face is the same as the challenge that has faced every generation before us: how to turn the liturgical calendar inside out: how to and use the wonder, amazement and joy of Easter, the fire the passion and the power of Pentecost to ignite the spark of faith so that you can turn a Church full of comfortable 'Ordinary time' Christians into a world changing, life-giving, miracle working, band of disciples?

Christ is risen -
He is risen indeed..
What should our response be?
To wait and see what happens next?
To carry on doing what we have always done?
Or to let the story unfold in our lives..
As the Acts of your modern day apostles...?

I am convinced God that the Church emerges best when it participates in your determination to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary: when it is prepared to risk what has always been in order to participate in what will be by responding in the power of your Spirit to the fact that Christ is risen - he is risen indeed.

Risk-taking God..
as I emerge from the tomb-side of Easter, 
shake me and disturb me,
and form me again as an apostle,
ready and willing to act for the sake of the gospel,
for I know that Christ is alive;
what was has been changed.
I want to be a part of what will be.



  1. Christ is Risen
    He is Risen Indeed!

    By the time we had said the response for the third time I was just begiining to think there might be a slim possibility that someone in the congregation might believe it!