Sunday, 6 November 2011

Swimming lessons for Church..

Every morning for the past year I have been swimming first thing in the morning at the swimming pool across the road from my house. I can't say I enjoy this exercise particularly (just doing it to stave off galloping senility that little while longer) nor am I particularly communicative at that time in the day. So I get changed, get in the pool, do my thirty lengths, get out, get dressed again and go home. I don't stop and chat with fellow swimmers. I go swimming for a purpose and I'm not there, I have to admit, to make new friends.

Nonetheless, it's impossible not to notice that there are a dozen or so regulars who also go swimming daily at the same time as me. I recognise each one of them. And, in an odd way, although we've never had a conversation, I've come to know them. We generally exchange a brief smile or nod, even sometimes a 'Hi' or 'Good morning' but never more than this.

And yet, although I know almost nothing about my fellow swimmers (except they are regular swimmers), there is a strange bond between us - just because we share this same ritual together every day. I'd even venture to suggest that we all feel rather like friends.

All this has made me wonder about those church goers who really like to keep themselves to themselves. It's good to have a team of welcomers at church - most people appreciate the offer of friendship - but maybe we should be more relaxed about just letting alone those who want to be let alone. If we simply come together for the same purpose - to worship God - every week then will we not necessarily become bound together - as I have become bound to my fellow swimmers?

Maybe it's not so much about getting to know each other in a lot of detail and having a lot of conversation. Maybe it's more about remembering why we have come to church and, well, just - being there.

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