continuing with ‘chatting at the sky’ with emily on 31 days of Grace, i have found my reason to post Dave Perry’s Insight of Grace from his blog ‘visualtheology’. finally. it’s continued in thought since first reading and in keeping with alternative church pioneering. now it fits. here’s thursday thoughts on grace…
*The tradition of ‘washday monday’, when all across Britain washing lines would be festooned with newly cleaned clothes drying in the breeze, is long gone. To 25 year olds such a traditional practice is as unfamiliar as church going. Neither fit with how these Generation Y-ers live their lives today and both belong to that category of cultural curiosity we call heritage. Washing and drying towels is just as essential as ever it was; it is how it happens which continues to change. So where does this leave church going?
We have come to realise – too late in some cases – that church going as such is in the category of ‘how’ when it comes to spiritual laundry; it is not an end in itself, just a means. For too long inherited church has been distracted by this category error. Put simply what really matters is the washing, cleaning and drying, not the time at which it happens, the brand of detergent preferred, the appliance used or whether the washing is pegged out on a line or put through a drier. Clean towels are the goal and the imperative, whereas 10.30 on a Sunday morning sitting in serried ranks at worship is not.
Perhaps every generation has to discover for itself that God is worshipped and glorified as we bring the kingdom of love near. God delights in us being merciful, kind and just; if church going enables us to achieve this then all well and good. If it doesn’t it quickly degenerates into becoming a questionable means in search of a dubious end as far as faith is concerned.
Hanging out our washing in public is a very visible and upfront way of being honest about the fact that stuff gets dirty and smelly and needs to be cleaned. It is a real insight of grace. It says this is what life does, this is how life is, so don’t pretend otherwise. Coming together as a community of faith which finds its liberating identity in God, sharing our experiences as disciples of Jesus and seeking to align ourselves with God’s transformational love at large in the world, is the work of being church. How we do this is up for grabs. Being prepared to hang all this out in public, together, rather than keeping our individual spiritual laundry in the private realm, is the really challenging aspect of being church, and not just for Generation Y.
Those towels drying on the washing line are much more than a curio, they are an invitation and an encouragement to everyone stuck with the dirt and the stink to believe in the fresh skin-close softness of alternative realities. Surely everyone is in sight of such grace?*