Yesterday, we went to two Easter services. If my spouse hadn't been singing in the Easter cantata at 11, we'd have only gone to the family service at 9:30. It turned out to be the most meaningful.
We usually have the family-friendly service in the fellowship hall, so it was strange to report to the sanctuary. But we needed the space--what a wonderful problem.
We began by singing "Christ is Risen! Alleluia!" Each time we sang the word "Alleluia!" we stood up. It was a good way to begin what would be a highly participatory service.
The bulk of the service told the Good Friday to Easter story using puppets, narrators, and members of the congregation pulled up front to participate. We had lots of new people, people who hadn't been to our services for Holy Week, people who probably hadn't attended Holy Week services elsewhere. It was good to remind them of the whole story.
I found it profoundly moving at the end, watching one of our congregation members play one of the weeping women and her moment of fear, confusion, and joy at realizing that Jesus wasn't dead.
The whole service was such a contrast to our 11 a.m. service. In that service, much of the time was taken up with the Easter cantata. I'm friends with some of the choir members, so I understand how much it meant to them to participate.
But it leads to a very passive congregation, as we sat there, listening and listening and listening. That's become one of my chief complaints about the traditional way of doing church: the congregation mostly listens and listens and listens.
Our family-friendly service works around that in many ways: we learn to sign key Bible texts, we sing the text, we have puppet shows and skits which require audience participation, we do small group work, and we often have an art project.
I've come to prefer that level of participation. I love that the children aren't frequently hushed. I love that the children often serve the communion, although they didn't yesterday. I love that we get involved with the text on a variety of ways. I love that we can't just sit there, dozing off or daydreaming.
I'm lucky to have that option. I know that many churches don't. I wonder how we could bring that change to more churches. I'm most interested in infusing services with creativity. More on that tomorrow.
feeling the feelings…
5 months ago