Sunday, 5 May 2013

If We Wrote the Church Welcome Leaflet Like a Child

Think of the oldest thing you can. Then something even older than that - older than dinosaurs or cavemen or even the sky.

That's the person we call the "Vicar". And he lives in the Church. Which is a big house which was built for God to live in. Except you can't find him in there. You can find the Vicar. It's God who's harder to find. I think maybe he's hiding.

We go to church in the car, and Mum and Dad swear at each other because they're late. Then when we get out the car they kind of put a bit of a smile on, and stop swearing till the end of Church. When we go into Church, somebody gives you lots of pieces of paper and books for later.

The church has lots of windows, but they're high up so you can't look out of them. And instead of curtains they have Bible people painted on them. There's Noah and James and John and Mary and another Mary. And Jesus on the cross, and Jesus in the stable being a baby. And God is in some of them, but he looks quite angry. Maybe that's because all these people are sitting in his house. And there are names of dead people written on the walls, and some dead people laying on big flat stones. Only they've been dead a long time, so they're made of stone. And they've got their names under them in case everyone's forgotten who they are.

The Vicar has some people to help him called the "Choir". They hide behind the big screen so you can't see them. They must be very shy. Maybe if we all shouted out "Choir", they'd come out and wave. But last time I did that I was told to "shush".

And there are lots of candles. But if you blow them out like a birthday, they all get annoyed. And if you run around the church when the Vicar is talking, you get dragged off and taken out the Church for five minutes. Then Dad says I've got to calm down. Dad has a cigarette while I'm calming down. Sometimes Dad takes me out to calm three or four times. Sometimes I was calm already.

They must like reading a lot when they're in Church. Because they have a hymn book - which they sing songs out of. And a service book - which they read out of. And a Bible - which they leave on the shelf in the chair in front. And then they get given a notice sheet, to tell them they've got to come back next Sunday. And then another piece of paper which has more songs on it. And they all complain and say "now we've got to learn another song we don't know". And I don't know any of the songs, but I can still dance during them. Until Dad tells me I've got to come out and calm down.

There's a big box up the front on top of some steps. It's called a "pulpit" and it's for standing in when you tell people about God. Except the Vicar doesn't go up there. He says if he was in the pulpit, it would be like he thought he was God and could tell everybody what to do. So he stands down the bottom with everyone else,  and tells them what to do from there instead.

Then there's a bit when somebody says the prayers. The prayers are like asking God for things,  but God must hate you asking for things. Because when the person's asking the prayers, everybody else ducks down and hides behind the chair in front with their head in their hands. Maybe it's because they think the church is going to crash, and they've got to get ready.

Then the Vicar stands behind that big table at the end. Some people call it a table, but some call it an "altar". I don't know why. It doesn't alter. It just stands there. The Vicar says it should be pushed up against the wall. But even though he's in charge, nobody will let him. Big thing to know - although it looks like it ought to be for putting dead bodies on, because it's just the right size, it isn't. I don't know where they put the dead bodies. They bury them during the week, so we're at school and don't get upset.

The altar is for having a Last Supper on. But it's not like supper, as they eat it in the morning. And although the Vicar says everyone is welcome, I'm not. They say I've got to wait till I'm older and can understand it. When I ask what it's all about, they tell me they don't really understand it. And they don't get very much supper, and only a little sip of wine. Except the Vicar. He gets a lot of wine at the end, for doing all the work.

And then we have a cup of juice and a biscuit, and I still can't run around. Mum says that's because I might break something. But everything in there is really old, so I don't think it would matter that much.

Then we get in the car and Mum and Dad start swearing again. Sometimes they swear about the Choir, and sometimes about the Vicar. Church always makes them very angry.

(Inspired - again - by Revd Claire's posting, and a thought from @DrBattyTowers). And most churches aren't completely like this. Some are very good for children.)

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