Sitting Lightly

Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

For those who were unable to be in their churches for whatever reason, including military service, radio could fill the spiritual vacuum. Via the medium of radio, people could join in worship both on Sundays and during the week. (James) Welch hoped that these programmes (sic) would be attractive to those – to use his characteristically tactful phrase – ‘on whom church membership sits lightly’.

Justin Phillips, “C.S. Lewis in a Time of War”

The above quote is from one of the books on my summer reading list … the story of how C.S. Lewis was recruited by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for the purpose of offering faith-based radio presentations for British citizens during WWII. These talks ended up being compiled into a book that we know of as Mere Christianity. Lewis, one of the modern era’s foremost apologists, always found a way to make Christian teachings accessible to both church folks and those who had a more secular orientation. Truth be told, I offer the above quote for only one reason … I absolutely love the citing of James Welch’s term for the occasional Christian … those “on whom church membership sits lightly.” What a brilliantly clever and tender way to remind people of their absence from the weekly gatherings of the body of Christ in churches across the land, offered by the Director of Christian Broadcasting of the BBC during the second world war.

So … are you a person on whom church membership “sat lightly” this summer? Our weekly attendance numbers suggest that at least some of you were “sitting lightly” in your homes or vacation spots … or at the pool, or your airplane flights to destinations far and near. So … it is time now to sit a bit more “heavily” in the pews of your church. We have missed you. We have missed your singing. We have missed your praying at our side in the pew. We have missed kneeling next to you at the communion rail. Yes, you have been missed. So as September rolls around, we expect to have you back.

The nature of the church is one that is wrapped up in community. We are the “body of Christ.” We build our temples and we decorate them with beautiful symbols and reminders of the presence of God in our midst. But the building is not the “church.” You and I are the church … along with the person sitting in the pew next to you … and that guy who makes you crazy with his political passions a few seats away from you … and the kiddo who cries in the pew in front of you … and that young woman who sings so beautifully two pews behind you … and the young adult nearby who is on his phone throughout the sermon. The body of Christ is all of us in our glory … and our brokenness … in our faithfulness … and in our sin. Whether your church membership has historically “sat lightly” upon you or not, we want you here and we need you here.

So … I’ll …

See you in Church
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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

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