THE CHURCH HERE feels different after each of our Messy Church events. Changed. Not messy as in messy – (you understand, don’t you?) – because the team tidy up afterwards quite fabulously – but colourful. Yes, that’s what it feels like. The Church feels like a paintbox. An invitation. An invitation to create something. And no-one knows quite what until they’ve got going. But all can have an active part.
It reminds me of when my 3 (now adult) children were toddlers. Christmas toys were removed from colourful boxes and laid aside so that the boxes could be played with. These boxes would be stamped on, drawn on, beaten, battered and bashed into shape. Even our pet budgerigars – and any conveniently available grandparents – would be drafted into their schemes. Sellotape and feathers put to use. Pipecleaner crosses and keys. Scissors terrifyingly wielded. Coloured cellophane and tin foil and other such architect-specified materials as these, until “HA! Look Daddy! A Church!“
(Don’t let them see this. I’ll never hear the last of it – and I’m off to see the baby’s new baby on Wednesday).
And all this seems to me to be a work of the Holy Spirit. The continual shaping and re-shaping (you might call it turning around – or repenting) – of a box like the dear old CofE, or of a box like me, into a living thing – the Body of Christ made up of many members. Colourful. Rich. Messy. Bashed and cuddled and grazed and pummelled and hugged and prayed into shape. A continuing invitation.
3 very different celebrations of the Eucharist today, one at 8am, one at 9am and one at 10.45am had each been touched by Saturday’s Messy Church. You could feel it in the air, in the singing, in the prayer. Chicken noodle soup and apple pie communion led us onwards and upwards to the bread and wine of the Kingdom – that eternally colourful celebration of the Good Life that’s no further away than just the other side of this Messy Anglican paintbox …