Messy! Imagine the sharp intake of breath when I mentioned the words messy and church in the same sentence. Both the shocked wide eyes and narrowed accusing eyes when I brought out a vial of glitter into worship. I know the feeling because, sometimes, I react that way when my kids suggest a messy activity.
‘Mummy let’s bake, let’s paint, let’s fill the sink with soapy water and splash like crazy’ (not an actual quote). My mind jumps to the messy aftermath and the arduous clean-up, but should it? I admit to times when I have shied away from messy activities because it might be too much work. I look back with sadness at the adventures, laughter and memories I’ve missed because of the mess.
Life is messy! Trying to keep things ‘perfect’ and in order should not be the goal of childhood nor of adulthood – nor should it be the goal of being church. I know the cleaning teams of the church and others may have words with me later, but I believe that following Jesus in real life is messy and complicated. That is part of the reason I enjoy Messy Church and playing with my children. In the mess is where profound moments of inspiration, connection and revelation appear.
Have you ever been digging in your garden and come across a creature in the dirt, been washing the car and seen a rainbow, been baking with children and hear their laughter, held a hand with someone struggling and seen a smile mingled with all the tears? Wonder, awe, hope, love, joy and learning find us in the messy places of life.
In the church we are sometimes seen as ‘having it all together’ or being orderly, but underneath the caricature I see the very human, very messy, but also very lively community trying their best to be faithful to God and to each other. Perfection is not something we will see this side of eternity. Messy is life. Messy is love. Messy is faith. Messy is community.
In Kippen and Norrieston churches, we are joining together with other local churches to do Messy Church. We do creativity (mostly messy), singing (not always pitch perfect), Bible stories (often very noisy) and we share food together. It’s church but not as you know it, and to be honest we’re still figuring it out, too. Would you care to join us sometime? Next Messy Church is at Kinlochard Village Hall on Sunday 20th August 2017 from 3 pm to 5pm. All are welcome, messy and neat-freak alike, young and old, confident and confused, saint and sinner.
Rev. Ellen Larson Davidson
Minister, Kippen linked with Norrieston
Parishes – Church of Scotland
Registered Charities: (Kippen) SC004286 & (Norrieston) SC028719