Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Diaries of an Ecumenical Steward #3

One day in Sibiu, Alex and I had ten minutes spare (a rare thing) and we were in Piata Mare, so we decided to go to the the catholic church. Inside, some kind of modern band/choir were singing. Alex remarked on how it didn't feel like a church; he was right, it really didn't. It would have been easy to think we'd come to some kind of teenagers' party, if only there hadn't been so much marble and gold paint around. So we ended up having a discussion about what is and isn't appropriate in church, what kinds of music our different traditions used in worship, and so forth…as I say, we only had ten minutes so that's as far as it went for the time being.

A week or two on, I was amidst preparing for my oral exam (on Secularism in France/EU) and had just come across an article entitled "Redonner du peps à l'Eglise Catholique" about rejuvenating the catholic church in Brazil, when I was chatting to Razvan online and we happened to get onto a discussion of a similar topic. Razvan is studying orthodox theology and was very much in agreement with me on most of this modernization stuff (which, incidentally, wasn't ALL negative, only in part). At some point in the conversation came "after all, church is not a party" and then Razvan came up with this gem:

"Church is a big party for your soul, because your soul are meeting with God and they have an ecumenical party."

In my ignatian cell group years back we used to like playing with plurals ("where were God?"), but it's not the creative use of plural in this that makes it utter genius: it's simply the most original way of describing what it's all about that I've heard in a long while. And it still doesn't make church a party in the way that the teenage rock band might want it to be.

I've put it on my wall, so that I read it every day…I think it's worth at least a week's worth of 1-minute reflections.
As it happens, the dean of my college is having an "ecumenical party" for the freshers this week. I am intrigued as to what exactly this will mean, and so may go along for a while. Somehow, I suspect that although it may be fun it won't be half as rewarding as the ecumenical party our souls will be having next time we're in church.
I also suspect it won't be half as actively ecumenical as its name might imply. Let's see.

Maybe sometimes we are tempted to forget how much fun church can be just because it is church. And while we're remembering, we might also want to pray for Razvan's vocation to spread that message.
"Church is a big party for your soul, because your soul are meeting with God and they have an ecumenical party."

1 comment:

georgewalsh said...

it's now on my wall too - i miss you guys, and gems like this :)
take care