Please – don’t go to church! (we never could!)

Don't go to church

Please – don’t go to church!
by Rev. John Guest

FIFTEEN years ago, I put up a banner in Stanford le Hope. Don’t Go To Church, it said. Boy, did I get some stick for that!

Church people were particularly critical, suggesting I was barmy. Well… I am, but that’s beside the point!

Five weeks ago, I put a poster on the door of the church building telling people that public worship was suspended and that there would be no more services in St. Margaret’s until further notice.

No more baptisms, weddings or funerals. No morning prayer or holy communion. But the notice also said the church is NOT closed.

The world, and more importantly, the Church itself, has been brought to the realisation that it is not a building or even a meeting.

And this realisation has come not through teaching or persuasion but the simple pressure of circumstance and necessity.

You really can NOT go to church and not just because the archbishop or prime minister says so.

And not because this nasty virus has confined many of us to our homes and prevented us from gathering together.

And not even because dark powers have overshadowed our world and sent a plague to trouble us.

All these are valid reasons but, even before the pandemic hit us, we still couldn’t go.

We cannot go to church because it is not a place we go but a truth we proclaim; it is not an organisation we attend but a family we join.

And we may just be beginning to realise that as we connect electronically and telephonically and experience loving kindness flowing from us and to us as we care for our communities.

So please… don’t go to church. Join it. Be it. And may God bless you.

(from an article in The Thurrock Gazette)