Listening to a recent Stand-Up Special by Ruby Wax on Radio 4, I was struck by how ‘churchy’ her Frazzled Café events sounded. Without explicit prayer or worship, they reach to the same congregation that churches, at their best, find as their natural focus. In other words, broken, damaged and less than perfect people gathering together, encouraging each other to rest, listen and to listen to each other.
I think I am particularly struck because, when I last spoke at St Clement’s a couple of weeks ago, rest was one of my key themes and challenges both for the congregation and for myself. A rest is declared for the people of God (Hebrews 4) although, to be fair, many in the church find themselves as busy or busier than anyone else. Mea culpa! At our best though, our gatherings should have time for stillness and reflection as well as activity: for example, confessions and intercessions. We sometimes do take the bruised reeds and, rather than breaking, restore them.
It is not that the ‘Frazzled Café’ events mark the failure or church or even stand in competition to the church but, in the church which believes in a God who lays aside cosmic power to draw alongside us with compassion, we should heed every reminder both to rest and, in that rest, to exercise the mission to which we are deeply called.