worship tricks

worship tricks [first series]

no 98 : return of the prodigal

rembrandt prodigalworship trick 98 is sparked by steve taylor's rereading of the prodigal which is a brilliant sermon based on the story of the prodigal son, the elder son or the gracious father depending on your take....

steve draws form the work of ken bailey. i read his book poet and peasant and through peasant's eyes several years ago. ken lived amongst middle eastern villagers for years and basically is able to completely get under the skin of many of jesus' stories. but his telling of the prodigal is amazing. anyway on to the worship trick.... (well it's actually a bundle of tricks):

1. use steve's retelling as it is as a story/reflection and have communion in response as he suggests - brilliant.

grace service2. get hold of henry nouwen's book the return of the prodigal. he tells of being transformed by looking for days at rembrandt's painting. and in the book unpacks the detail in the painting to lift the lid off the parable in wonderful ways. you can get a slide set from st pauls multi media which has 12 slides of different details off the painting. do a search on prodigal on their site and you'll find it. construct a service using these slides or some of them at different parts of the room with things to do/questions/rituals relating to that part of the painting - the details are such as the father's embrace, the elder son, the father's hands, the worn out shoes of the prodigal etc. combined with nouwen's insights this is a brilliant service. we actually did this at grace several years ago (sept 99) but it was in the days before i ran a blog so never got to be made a worship trick. there are a couple of pictures of it at smallfire

3. there are a copuple of prayers/confessions relating to the prodigal in alternative worship. i particularly like the confession by steve collins.

4. another idea/insight - i was blown away by miroslav volf's book exclusion and embrace. p156 -165 retell the story and it is this story that first set him off on the theology of embrace. i love the part where he suggests that the father is flexible enough to be able to reconfigure the world as an order of embrace rather than exclusion....

5. mike riddell has two retelling's of the story - one in godzone and one in god's home page (which has the most amusing ending).