Where is the place for pain within Messy Church? (Lucy Moore)

Tuesday, 20 January, 2009

Lucy Moore asks where the place for pain is with Messy Church.

Lucy MooreMessy Church is far too much fun to be proper church! Where's the endurance? Where's the grind? Where's the discipline? Why aren't my Puritanical masochistic itches being scratched? Can we really be truly church and still enjoy it so much? (I shall try to remember this jollity when I'm down on my hands and knees grimly scrubbing off glass paints from the hall parquet floor or sweatily frying up half a dead cow's worth of mince.)

While I don't have an issue with enjoying church, one question I have been musing on recently is: where is the place for pain within Messy Church, or indeed any form of church with children present? Given that the UK is statistically one of the most miserable countries in the developed world for being a child, there is a mass of suffering out there among the under-twelves as well as the more-often-acknowledged pain of teens and adults: bullying, loss, self-doubt, fear, peer pressure, life.

If Messy Church is only a place we can bring our thanks and praise to, if it is simply a place of creativity and bonhomie, surely it can't be a true church? We need to learn to paint with the colours of Good Friday as well as those of Easter Sunday, to model the thorny crown as well as the Easter bonnet.

Crafts can be a space to place our pain: we have made 'God's tears' out of acetate and hung them with silver thread from a cross, drawing on them what makes God cry. We say 'sorry' as well as 'please' and 'thank you' in our prayers.

But where do we find the place and courage to tell the stories of suffering from our own lives that release the stories – and pain, and tears - of others, young and old?

About the author: 

Lucy Moore is a Fresh Expressions Associate Missioner and the founder of Messy Church.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
We use spam protection. View privacy policy.