the grace season got off to a fine start last night. it's always a challenge getting our act together after greenbelt. but a simple service focusing on the year ahead and the summer just gone proved to be just perfect...
i haven't got all the components of the service but i thought i'd add it here as a worship trick and add the other bits if i track them down.
1. chill - quiet down in god's presence - use the video image of the jar settling from the CD ROM with tune in chill out | sing this is the house of god from one of the late late service albums | play lovebleeps by laura b from the mini album midi a minuit which i got at the big chill this summer with the lyric 'i am calling to you' (could become a grace classic tune i think), and give space to call out to god for the new year... also light three candles to pray for the presence of the father, son and spirit. use the prayer we are hungry from alternative worship | sing heal me from another of the late late service albums (!)
2. examen - look back over the summer using an examen type thing - talk in twos and then reflect on your own on your consolations and desolations... these were the questions jen put together
Consolation – for what moment of this summer am I most grateful?
Desolation – for what moment of this summer am I least grateful?
When did I give and receive the most love?
When did I give and receive the least love?
When did I feel most alive?
When did I most feel life draining out of me?
When have I had the greatest sense of belonging to God?
When did I have the least sense of belonging?
What was this summer’s high point?
What was this summer’s low point?
For what moment of this summer am I most grateful?
For what moment of this summer am I least grateful?
played the tune before from panamerican's quiet city which was perfect with the line let those memories come.
3. looking forward part 1 - revisiting the grace ethos - create, particpate, engage and risk. mike had a wonderful meditation/reflection and piece of liturgy reworking the doors liturgy from alternative worship. he kindly sent me the text...
About 18 months ago in Grace we started a process of exploring who we were, what we had achieved, where we were going. We summed up several weeks of reflection, thought and prayer into three words. We described the three words as our ethos.
And as we learned more about Jesus and our community we found that there were new possibilities in an old, a 10 year old, situation. And where we might previously have made an easy, obvious choice, following the rules of our tradition, we became aware of new options in old situations.
And we found that our new option had the word "truth" written all over it.
But the word "truth" is hard to take. The truth might be uncomfortable. The truth might mean changes we hadn’t anticipated which would shake us out of complacency. We added a fourth word to our ethos:
And as we went on facing daily decisions we became aware that any given situation has a choice of doors to go through. The obvious, familiar one, and the new one you're vaguely aware of.
That second door is smaller and harder to find than the familiar big door of comfort and self-satisfaction.
The second door is not directly in front of us - it is in semi-darkness and may be covered in cobwebs until we turn around and find it.
But as we reach out for the second door we find that the word "truth" is suddenly a lot more attractive. We find that the decision to reach for the other door has somehow given us a sense of being "bigger".
If we go through that door, and take the hard option, we find that we were wrong about the fear of the small, restricting room of the truth ... we find the biggest surprise that our hearts can contain ... because on the other side of the small, dimly lit door is a wide open space. And that wide open space is freedom ... it is the Realm of God.
And once we've been through that door we get used to its feeling, and in more and more situations we begin to see the second, smaller door, and we realise that the big door that we're used to going through actually led to a small room ... a kind of prison.
But now that we're learning to find the small door. We are starting to know the price of putting our ethos centrally into the life of Grace.
As a way of re-committing ourselves to our ethos at this, our ‘start of year’ service, a series of responses:
We will not allow our gifts and talents to be hidden
WE WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM THROUGH THE DOOR MARKED "CREATE".
We will encourage all to contribute. Our ideas are a gift offered to God
WE WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM THROUGH THE DOOR MARKED "PARTICIPATE".
We will be hospitable and supportive to one another, to visitors and to the wider church. We will engage with everyday life and connect with culture:
WE WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM THROUGH THE DOOR MARKED "ENGAGE".
We will not be afraid to fail but will push at our boundaries and try new things:
WE WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM THROUGH THE DOOR MARKED "RISK".
WE WILL GO THROUGH THESE DOORS IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT, KNOWING THAT JESUS HAS GONE THROUGH THEM ALL FIRST.
4. looking forward part 2 - personal dreams put to flight - this idea was lifted from laura of sanctus1 who led worship on the emerging churches tour and got everyone writing dreams on paper and making origami birds. she kindly sent me the origami template afterwards which you can download here. steve has posted his reflection that introduced it summer is over on his blog and i have pasted it below. this looked fabulous and we projected images of moving skies and so on behind it which was fun.
summer is over
an end to sitting on the fence
a voice beneath your certainties
shakes the settled patterns
like a colder breeze that heralds distant winter
strange lands lie waiting
beyond your southern horizon
summer is over,
and you must go or perish
here in a world no longer yours
or on the way, but in hope
your star and compass often dark
glimpsed briefly between clouds
at journey's end, another summer
not like the first one
new seeds, new fruit to refresh the migrant
burnt by life between summers
warmed for a season
until the north calls again
like the inner call of the migrating bird, where does god call you?
where is your bird migrating to?
what do you want to do for god?
what do you need along the way?
take one of the sheets of paper and write your hopes and prayers for the journey ahead on the reverse side, the side without the instructions. then we're going to fold them to make origami birds...
5. prayers and blessing - some simple prayers/blessing led by ben which he also kindly sent me...
- Sometimes we can have dreams and plans for our lives that we just outgrow.
- Sometimes we can have dreams and goal that were founded on grand ideas. But like the seed on rocky soil, they sprout up quickly and then wither; it seems right for them to die
- And then there are those that are those dreams, visions, aspirations, that are planted so deeply in us that they can feel like part of God s dreams for us.
No matter how low the flame is burning, no matter how little the shoot has sprouted since the seed first took root in our being, our heart still sings out somewhere when we bring it back to mind.
These are the dreams that we want to take flight. To re-engage with the great migration.
Just as you don t break a bruised reed or snuff out a smouldering wick, graciously let our plans and dreams take flight.
- Give us a sense of how we can coax it back to life
- Incubate it
- Let us see a next step & the manageable close at hand & And the glorious dream maybe far off.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ