Four weddings and two baptisms, and no, it’s not a sequel to that well known film! These are services we had at Hellingly and Upper Dicker last weekend. It shows we are definitely in the wedding and baptism season at church at the moment. It is all part of the regular business of churches which in the trade are known as ‘hatches, matches and dispatches’, baptisms, weddings and funerals.They are fantastic occasions for celebration and friends and families make the effort to dress up and sometimes travel vast distances. There is of course usually a grand party afterwards.
For a minority of the guests though the church bit is the bit which has to be done, the formality which gives the excuse for the party. I have to say though that the comments I often have made back to me after the services I have performed usually express being pleasantly surprised. I have even had people say honestly that they were really not looking forward to the church bit, but that I had transformed a chore into an event. It might be that I get them singing a little ditty, often with actions, using my guitar, or that I am just a naturally upbeat person. It’s not to blow my own trumpet as all I can do is be myself, and in being that it seems to hit the spot. But fundamentally I think it is because I believe that worship of God and these acts of dedication and commitment, serious as they are, should also be fun and enjoyable. For some people this can be simply too shocking. They can be the ones who have only had a very monochrome experience of God and Church. There is a place for the quiet reflective service. Funerals are not necessarily a barrow load of laughs, although laughter can occur even then. The important thing about what happens in church is that it should connect with people where they are and in a way they can relate to. A church that just focuses upon the ‘otherness’ of God is rarely going to meet people in their daily lives. Jesus is often pictured as being serious and intense, whereas I can well imagine him to be full of life and energy, with a wonderful smile and quick to burst into laughter. He is where people are and ever ready to join in the fun and laughter with a great sense of humour. Children were happy in his company and I can’t see kids being drawn to a sombre and serious dude! Church should be fun? Definitely!