I’ve been thinking about Sunday just gone. It was memorable. I learned a couple of lessons, here's one of them.
Patrick’s timing was impeccable.
He usually is waiting for us to open up on Sunday’s. His role is to cause as much ‘white noise’ as possible in order to get who-ever it is leading the meeting as stressed as possible. It takes a particular skill to continue getting ready for the service, get everything in its right place – create that atmosphere that is ‘conducive to worship’ – while Patrick is giving all he can to create verbal mayhem.
Sunday he wasn’t there when we opened up. He wasn't there as I tuned my guitar. He wasn't there when we sorted out the PA. He wasn’t there to confuse me as I get the songs into order. He wasn’t there when we started. He wasn’t there to call out, chuntter, swear . He wasn’t there.
It could have had something to do with what had gone on earlier in the week (Sir that is a load of madam). It could have had something to do with the fact that the visit from the social services went spectacularly wrong. Whatever, he wasn’t there and it didn’t seem right.
It didn’t seem right because I was organised – everything was in its right place. My guitar was tuned; the PA was ready; acetates in order. It didn’t seem right because there was no disturbances, everything was squeeky clean, no chaos, no mayhem – no ‘sanctified disorder’.
This trying to create an atmosphere conducive for worship – this call to worship thing suddenly is turned on its head. The white noise, the chaos, mayhem, disorder that Patrick brings is the call to worship; the atmosphere that Patrick brings is conducive for worship. It's the noise of grace centred community, the noise of tolerance as most of the time people smile and are accepting.
So we finish up our squeeky clean meeting. I get a brainwave to create an environment for the church to share a blessing together. We’re in a circle - a microcosm of diversity. We’re just about to sing ‘Peace to You’. I’m getting an introduction going when there’s a noise, a disturbance - in bursts Patrick, breaks the circle, grabs the hands of his neighbours – looks at me in such a way that communicates “oi …wait for me…I’m part of this!?”
It has taken seven years to work it out – Patrick’s Sunday ministry is unique!