I must tell you that if you are
I must tell you that if you are reading this during the sermon because you are bored I have never thought of doing it. Some sitting near me think that I read with the paper held low because I don’t want to get caught but it is really because I don’t bring my reading glasses with me. I am immune to getting caught: I started when I was in my mothers arms. I jerked her string of tiger’s eye beads and sent them bouncing across the stone floors followed by the parishioners scrabbling on hands and knees. It destroyed the sermon and I didn’t even get smacked.
At school we would fart in chapel during the quiet parts of the service and watch the preacher for reaction. Not once was I caught. I had always been one who looked at church as nothing more than a farce. I was brought up as an Anglican, the son of a priest, hardened and cynical. I always saw church as a place where men dressed up like mother with people calling them father. The church was full of women and children and had a funny smell.
All this time I knew of another church that was operating alongside this starched surplice circus.
This was the secret church, the church that never met in the same place, which never had a liturgy; that had no preacher, which had no regular congregants. It was the church that met on a Friday night when there was a fight and a drunk needed to be stitched up in our kitchen. This church met when there was a tramp that needed a meal and a wash. This was the church that met on Sunday at 3:00am when my dad was called out to comfort someone. This church was open night and day seven days a week. I never saw collection taken or money changing hands. I remember that there were no uniforms, no singing and no sermons. This was a church that didn’t announce its meeting because it was spontaneous. Random acts of kindness distributed without anybody counting. Nobody to impress with a fancy dress parade, no crosses and candles, no restrictions, just normal people sharing the love of Christ. This sharing of the love of Christ was never with a sermon only a realisation that there was a need that had to be met.
This is the church that drew me to Christ; meals for the family after Miranda had a difficult birth support when I burned a whole farm while beekeeping.
I want to tell you that this secret church is operating in Hout Bay. It is working right now. When you see trouble in someone’s life; come to the service. It might just be a phone call to say I missed you, is everything OK? It may just be a hug, nothing that will cost anything; just human kindness to the lonely, the frightened. You may imagine that you are on your own doing this ministry but you the Lord and all the others you don’t see are involved. You see this church has services that last a minute at a time. You can join this church no matter what your denomination, education, ability or financial position.
I must encourage you and tell you that this church is alive and well and living and meeting where you take it.