Some Sundays are better than others. Every Sunday in Fitzroy is different. Five or six worship bands assures us of that. Most Sundays are vibrant, challenging and inspirational. Last Sunday though was one of the very best Sundays in Fitzroy. In one day there was a flavour of exactly who we are.
The morning service took a turn. It was a well structured service, planned in advance. However, a couple of Ugandans staying in the Manse gave the opportunity for an added energy. So, just after our opening worship song and before the Children’s section of the service Levixone took Fitzroy to Africa. There were beats and grooves and lots of movement. Seeing the congregation almost bounce in unison was an original unique beginning. Fitzroy likes throwing in the options available. “Blessings everywhere” Levixone had us singing. Indeed!
Watching the oldest to the youngest follow Levixone’s moves was something… and then there were the puppets. The puppets all set up to do The Prodigal Son for Ally Mefferd’s thoughtful talk to the children got into the groove too.
Today was the day, that occurs maybe 4 times a year, when the Clonard Unity Pilgrims visited with us. From Clonard Monastery on Belfast’s Falls Road the Unity Pilgrims go out and worship in Protestant Churches every Sunday. On their day with us we asked Roseann Doherty to read the Scriptures and then Irene Jovaras from Focolare did our prayers for the world.
There was of course a reason to have two Catholic sisters involved this particular Sunday. In our current preaching series, BEING WITH, this was the Sunday where we looked at how Jesus was with his enemies - “the other”. As in Fitzroy we unpacked Jesus life. I preached on Luke 6: 27-36 where Jesus tells us to love, bless, do good and pray for the other. It is Jesus incarnational model. It is Jesus call for us to follow and it is the character of God - “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”.
All of this was of course dressed in worship. We had traditional, taize and contemporary all mixed in, a little latin and finishing with Bluetree’s God Of The City.
Then in the evening we had one of our art specials. Mixed with performances of Joni Mitchell songs, Andrew Cunning gave us the theology of the ordinary, seeing what Mitchell’s songs had to say to theology. These evenings are a subtle mix of entertainment and education. As Marshall McLuhan said, “Anyone who think there is a difference between entertainment and education doesn’t know the first thing about either.”
This is Fitzroy in one day. Biblical, thoughtful, imaginative, unpredictable and making sure that the word and the world caress and clash, in practice, in the here and now.