Getting Stirred Up

by The Rev. Mary Vano on December 30, 2014
The third Sunday of Advent is sometimes (but rather obscurely) known as “Stir Up Sunday”.  It’s the Sunday when the appointed prayer invites: “Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us…”  This year “Stir Up Sunday” also coincided with a reading about that great instigator, John the Baptist.  It seemed like a good day to stir some things up.

So, in my sermon on December 21st, I challenged our congregation to start a social media movement.  I asked people who use social media to make a video of themselves talking about why they go to church, to post it for their friends to see, and to invite a few others to take up the challenge.
In the United States today, church attendance is in decline, as well as membership in faith communities.  There are many people out there who have never attended church regularly, and they don’t know why anyone would. Some have had disappointing experiences in church.  Many mistakenly believe that church-goers are falsely pious, self-righteous, and judgmental.  It’s true that people who go to church are far from perfect … in fact, what many people don’t know is that that is the very reason most of us go to church.  We need help.  We need forgiveness.  We need inspiration, wisdom, and nourishment.  We need a peaceful time to start the week, and friendships with others who seek to know God.  There are benefits we receive when we worship regularly, and there are a lot of people out there who would be glad to know what the Church has to offer.  You have friends who would like to know why you go to church, too.

I’m delighted that, to date, eight people have made “I Go to Church” videos.  Thanks to the exponential nature of social media, many hundreds of people have viewed, “liked”, and commented on these videos.  I’m not sure we can call this a “movement” yet, but we definitely stirred something up! 

If you haven’t yet, you are encouraged to join this faithful effort.  Simply make a short video stating, “I go to church because…”  and give your own meaningful reasons for attending worship.  To add some interest and unity to these videos, participants have started their videos by lighting a candle. (See the samples below.) Post your video on your favorite social media forum, and use the hashtag: #IGoToChurch.  You can also join our Facebook group, which we’ve used as a place to discuss.

“Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us…”  And I add, may God bless all our faithful efforts.  Amen!

Read more about our Celebrations:
Celebrations of Gratitude
Prayers for Pakistan