Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end…
Hello Reformers! I remember my dear old Mum and Dad used to watch a programme on the telly called “The Good Old Days” when various artistes trundled on stage and did their thing. Everyone in the audience had dressed up too in the style of the old time music hall. How many of us are still hoping for a return of the good old days in our Churches?
There was a day when Churches were pretty full on a Sunday, and the various organisations had jolly good numbers in them, and all seemed well in our Christian nation. But I simply ask the question, “Were they the good old days?” When children were best seen and not heard; when the best thing about the BB parade was the competition in your row in Church to see who could pick out the biggest piece of straw from under your seat; when people only came to communion if they remembered their card otherwise it was too embarrassing explaining things at the door without one; when only ministers of “experience” were called to prestigious charges; when communion services were akin to bleak black affairs of a funereal nature, with black ties and maybe even morning suits; when some eagle-eyed Presbyter stood up at a meeting to tell the Clerk he had missed a comma in the minutes; ministers visited the elderly even though most of them were also there on a Sunday; and you wore your Sunday-best to the Kirk lest the neighbours might gossip! Please add your own reminisces at this point. I’m sure there was good in there, but seldom did we seem to ask the questions, “What should the Church be doing? What is the Church really here for? What should ministers do and be?” And seldom did we question the many traditions we followed. Some still don’t. Do you?
On the one hand we are sometimes filled with a burst of rebellion and say we need to find ways to change in the Church, and yet on the other hand we fit right back into the mould when we calm down again! Dare we admit that we have become institutionalised? Are we incapable of change or dare we break the mould and create good days ahead? If it’s the former then I suppose you keep hoping the good old days will return; if it’s the latter, I dare you not to forget to be daring! As Del Boy used to say, “He who dares, wins!” Mon the reformers!