grace led a worship service as part of the waterloo festival. because we have been exploring the theme another world is possible for most of the year in conversations and over meals and in services that seemed the obvious theme to go for and tied in well with the festival's concern for justice and peace.
the outline of the service is here in the grace web site archive section. the service opened up with a business as usual space. in this space there was a café with cups of tea and chocolates (the english love to have a cup of tea to cope with everything), movies of cheesy happy adverts and the opening to blue velvet, posters with keep calm and carry on. it was a satiated, numb space in which we have got used to the old order of consumption. but the space began to be disrupted by handing out cotton wool for people to put in their ears and eye masks to put on - the lack of seeing and hearing began to be named...
then a loud alarm cock went off and there was a call to worship, a call to wake up! which went like this...
Unplug your ears
Unbind, open your eyes
That you may hear
That you may see
God is here
God is doing something new.
God is inviting you into a journey to discover a new world,
a new upside down kingdom.
There is a restlessness in our society, in our culture and in many of us at the moment.
The old ways of doing things seem to be broken, or at breaking point.
The theme of tonight's service 'another world is possible' comes from the Occupy movement. It was a slogan etched on barrier tape around the encampment. In Grace this really caught our attention like an alarm, like a wake up call. For about 6 months we have been exploring and thinking about what it might mean to move from an old world in which we are satiated and numb and co-opted by the gods of consumption, where we have got used to the poor begging and bankers earning several million pounds in bonuses to a new world which might be imagined and run on very different lines. The prophets of Israel and Jesus the prophet seem interested in just such a journey, just such an adventure, just such a new world and kingdom.
God of justice, peace and righteousness come into our midst this evening
Breathe your breath,
your Spirit of prophecy,
your imagination on us.
Wake us up
Open our eyes
Unplug our ears
That we might hear
That we might see
That we might grieve
That we might dream
That we might follow the ways of your extraordinary kingdom
then we were off to explore the prophets and other thngs which i'll say more about once a few more peoples photos and things are online! but one little touch i'd like to add as a worship trick (no 25, series 4) is that at the end of the service we were invited to set our phones or watches with an alarm to go off every day at an unusual time as a daily reminder that another world is possible. my ohone alarm goes off at 11:17am every day now and on week days it often interrupts a meeting which is rather wonderful. so go on set your alarm to interrupt business as usual...
dean wrote a communion prayer on this theme which was really poignant and the more i read it the more i love it - what better sign that another world is possible than bread and wine?! it's in the service outline but i'll post it here too. grace must have getting on for twenty eucharistic prayers/services - must get round to publishing a pocket liturgy book of them at some point!
On the night before Jesus died, he gathered with his friends to have supper. Over the meal they shared stories of lament and longing.
They told stories of Lament for a world of injustice and powerlessness that before they met Jesus they hadn’t even noticed.
Lament for the empires of the age that were bent on their own continued existence, but no longer had any reason to exist.
Lament over the people who were silenced.
Lament over the people who were blind to the possibility that the world could be anything other than what it was.
They told stories of Longing that the new world they’d glimpsed might become the dominant reality;
Longing that the voiceless would be given a voice.
Longing that the powerful would be freed from their addiction.
Longing for the imagination to escape the numbing quality of the empires that tell you that this world is all there is.
The meal moved towards its conclusion, and Jesus called for bread and wine. He took the bread, broke it, gave thanks and said: this is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.
He took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said: this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
Father God, we pray that you will send your Spirit on us, that this bread and wine may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
May the bread be food for the journey as we seek to see the new reality of God’s kingdom in the world.
May the wine be a sign that we are no longer shackled to the old order. We are no longer in debt to the empire whose power over us Christ has broken.
May these tables be places where our hopes are forged.
May this community gathered here be a reminder that we are not alone. That throughout our city there are people who are working to throw off the old and seek the new life of Christ as they bring peace and justice to the places where they walk.