grace on saturday night went really well (as much as you can tell when you are curating). the idea for this service began in australia when i did a chapel service with steve taylor based on the story of the prodigal son. i was thinking we'd just use the same stuff but actually when we got to planning it went in a bit of a different trajectory. we explored the story particularly in relation to the older and younger brother and their perceptions of home. as you can see the set up turned the space into a home.
for those of you who like theology in the background was miroslav volf's exclusion and embrace and ken bailey's amazing work on luke 15 in poet and peasant (or whichever book it is).
also some of the inspiration or texture was added by songs/poems from padraig's hymns to swear by album which somehow fits together with the story because the the theme of exile. lines from several poems were woven into the liturgy with a confession based on the 4 lines of marantha. in that respect it was PG rated service, the first time the f word has been used in grace in liturgy, but it was entirely fitting.
the outline for the service is in the grace archive. the communion liturgy is here written by me and dean, and the blessing i wrote is below. i really encourage those of you who have not tried it to explore writing liturgy that embodies the theology and ideas you explore in worship. it's a very powerful thing. we have had several communion services over the years where we have done this and they are some of the most wonderful experiences of liturgy i have had.
there are a bundle of photos from richard, dean and steve in the grace flickr group so you can see how it looked. it's amazing how a story that we've heard so many times opens up so many layers and connects afresh with our lives. jesus was certainly a masterful storyteller. i have added this as worship trick 87 in series 3 (yes i know the list isn't fully up to date but it's on my list!). here's the blessing...
may the extravagant love of god the father
fill your hearts and minds and his embrace hold you
when you feel unworthy to be called his son or daughter
may the friendship of jesus christ your brother
rid you of any notion that you are only a slave
and you find your home in and with him in his kingdom
may the spirit of god release you
from a world of duty
so that a new joy and freedom wells up in your life
go and reconfigure the world as on order of embraceand the blessing of god the father, the son and the holy spirit be among you and remain with you always
in your friendships
in your work place
in your families
in your street
and in your churches