Timing is everything right? No, we are not indulging in behavior on par with King Balshazzar, nor did we use the communion chalices and the patens for a pizza party, but I did have a discussion about the proper respect for our worship space last night.
I struggle a bit with this discussion. On one hand I understand the feeling that our worship space, sanctuary, chancel and nave should be accorded some respect. It is after all the primary place where we gather to worship God.
That being said, growing up in the church as I did, I have run, played and been a part of all sorts of shenanigans in the place set aside primarily for worship. I have seen myself that not even my elders, back in the day always respected this space, I have seen the countless pieces of gum stuck under the pews and more I will not recount here.
One of the points raised in this discussion was along the lines of the following. “Should games, where kids are running to and fro be played in the Nave, should scavenger hunts include the space around the altar and pulpit? To clarify, these things do not normally take place in worship! But they do and have taken place in the space we use for worship.
I think an important question to be asked here is: are the things that are being done in blatant disrespect of God? In todays reading the way King Balshazzar treated things that had been used to worship God at the temple were very much done out of arrogance and disrespect. When a game of tag, or hide and seek are played partly in what we often refer to as the sanctuary, today, I do not believe this is the case.
I still think that the topic of how we respect a space dedicated to worship is one we need to talk about. Is there a way that these activities might occur and yet develop a sense of respect that this place is special, it is set apart for God. Can holy play, holy shenanigans happen, or is this a line that must not be crossed?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and rational.