So yesterday afternoon Raquel and I went to a baptism celebration. My friend and his family were baptising their young daughter. The service was held at a local Footscray cafe, and it was quite a beautiful day. The service was unique, and creative. There was even a bit about teaching her what laws to break, which I really liked.
The thing that really impacted me however was the crowd. There were probably thirty or so adults, maybe a few more, and lots of kids. Twenty maybe? and the adults sat along the sides and towards the back, and the children sat in the center. They were given some musical instruments to take part in a couple of songs, one specifically for them. Of course they played the instruments throughout the entire service. And there was much laughing, and playing and even a few wrestling matches, which I followed with great interest. The thing is it was a bit distracting, very loud actually. Often didn't understand what was being said. And I loved it. It was like a birthday party for a beloved family member. There was a song, and a few speeches, some nibbles and coffee. I enjoyed some of the things that were shared, but the point was being with friends, actually being a part of a milestone. And then it hit me.
When we look at church as something we go to, with the purpose of getting inspired, taught, corrected or so on, then we must send the kids off so we can do the adult stuff. But shouldn't I be inspired, taught, corrected and challenged in my own life? In my own devotions? And if I live in community with my brothers and sisters, shouldn't there be plenty of time to pray? be inspired? confess my sins? eat together? and practice charity? In the process of daily life and hospitality shouldn't I have already shared my faith? given the peace of the Lord? Maybe had a word of wisdom or knowledge to share or be shared with? So if this is all true, then what should our gatherings be? How about a family reunion? With kids, and speeches, and songs and food, and a general feeling of joy at being together?
When did the gathering of the saints become ritual instead of a party?
Unfortunately, a long time ago. But I am doing it again.