I spent last Sunday morning at St. George’s, another Anglican church. As well as being Palm Sunday, the service was lead in part by Bishop George Elliot, the area bishop for York-Simcoe.
I liked the liturgical nature of the service. Rather than listening to a lecture where the point of the talk is pushed in your face and reinforced with bullet points on the screen, the approach taken on Sunday gave us space to reflect on the Palm Sunday story. Bishop George noted that most of us present were very familiar with the passion week narrative, and suggested that rather than rushing ahead, we take some time during the week to ‘dwell’ in the story, for example by contemplating the thoughts and actions of the minor characters.
We also had an opportunity to do this during the service by participating in a responsive reading. Being part of a crowd yelling ‘crucify’ made me think about why we would be saying that. I suspect that it’s very easy for us to see someone that society has condemned as a loser, as a criminal, or as an undesirable, and adopt that perception ourselves. Even though the crowds in Jerusalem must have suffered under the unjust Roman regime, they were quick to accept the authorities’ condemnation of Christ. It’s much easier to sidle up to power than to stand with the outcast.
One thing that concerns me about St. George’s is the demographic. It seemed to me that the vast majority of congregants were retirees. There is a lot I like about Anglicanism, and I think the Anglican approach to doing church has a several aspects that the postmodern, emerging generation may be looking for, but in Barrie at least it seems that they are not finding it here.