Voices From The Pews

 The Christian church is interesting in that we go every week and hear clergy give sermons every week. We sit back and listen to the words that are said, and try to gain some insight in what the clergy person is saying. Some clergy spend prat of there time telling you about things that they have done, or some other story where you sit back and wonder what it has to do with the lessons that had been given that day. Others spend a bunch of time talking about the theology of the lessons, and one wonders how the lessons even relate to their life. But many clergy are really good in that they really know how to combine them.
 But one of the things that I seem to notice is that it has been rare in my life where the sermon/homily was given by someone from the pews who wasn't interested in becoming ordained in any way. I wonder how many people who sit in the pews have said to there clergy person that they would be interested in giving a homily at a service, but have been turned down with some reasoning given to them, but the truth of the matter is that the clergy person's real reason is because the person is not interested in having someone speak about the lessons who doesn't have any seminary teaching, or they are scared that the person who say something that the clergy person doesn't like and would feel that they would have to spend weeks trying to get the person to think in the way that the clergy person wants.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=afroanglicans-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0736917225&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr  Several years ago, the vestry of the congregation that I am in voted that the pastor had to take a minimum of 3 weeks off from the the church. We weren't trying to get him out to have someone else replace him, only that he hadn't taken time off in a few years, and we all knew that taking time off is something that is healthy for the body. He still hasn't taken that time off these years later with all kinds of reasons for not doing it, but finally this week he actually took this Sunday off. 
 He asked, and I gave him the names of a few clergy people that he should contact to come in to do the services this week, and if he actually ever did is something that I don't know. Last Sunday he handed me and a couple of people a packet that had this weeks service, and it turned out that he wanted us to do Morning Prayer. Jokingly I said to the two that were going to lead the service that they shouldn't use the "sermon" that he provided, but to do there own. How surprised I was today when one of them didn't even use it, but did one on his own, and the other one only used bits of it.
 Even though I don't speak Spanish (but I do understand some of it,) I sat and listened as the person who did the Spanish service gave a homily. I had really expected him to give the sermon that was provided, but he didn't even pick it up. I watched as people seemed to pay really close attention to each and every word that he said, and even got involved in it. I watched as people smiled at the things that he said, and how it seemed as though people could really relate to the things that he was saying like I had never seem before from the people. Here was someone that faithfully sits in the pews every week, really peaking to them.
 Even though we did stumble through parts of the service, I saw something that I had never seem before happen. There is a gentleman who has come to the service for a large number of years, who generally is very quiet, but he surprised me when the service ended and he spoke up and thanked the person for the wonderful job that he did, and the people applauded. They not only applauded him, but stood and applauded him. I have never seem this happen before in a church.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=afroanglicans-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0310248728&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr In both of the English services, the sermon planned for was partly used, people paid attention and even got involved. The person who gave it made some changes and added some stuff, and actually made it better. It was a sermon that the people seem to really relate to.
 I began to wonder, should we stop the clergy from giving sermons at least once a month and have someone from the pews get up and give a homily? Are clergy so out of touch with the people that they can't give strong sermons that the people can relate to, and as I mentioned in an earlier blog that the theology that they learn in seminary has pulled them away from really being able to relate to the people? 
 Could our congregations grow if the laity were to give homilies on the them? I really don't think so, but it would give the laity empowerment in a way I think that they can begin to understand that they are the true power of the church. I think that it would make people really think and live into the teachings of the Holy Bible with a fuller understanding that they wouldn't get by listening to just what the clergy teaches them? Who knows?
 Now I know that coming September when our pastor is suppose to be away for several weeks, that he will use the claim that since it worked so well this time by doing Morning Prayer, so that will be the reason that he won't call in other clergy, but maybe it will mean that they people will realize that they are the church? 
 I really enjoyed today, and was would really like to see the clergy take a back seat when it comes to talking about the lessons of the day form time to time. By doing so, maybe they can hear and learn from us the laity...