I went to a simple and imaginative all age service on Sunday. The service was about John 21 and the miraculous catch of 153 fish (above are 6 of them).
At that point, if you think that the Bible is a made up collection of stories for the gullible and strange, you may want to stop reading. Mind you, I have never thought a literal reading of anything has much merit though.
The person leading said that 153 at that time was the believed number of all known fish species, so what the writer was trying to get at was that all were included in the Kingdom: the Kingdom was open to all.
I had never heard that interpretation before, but I like it. We all (and churches are sometimes no better) try and divide ‘ins’ and ‘outs’…here is one place where that does not matter.
http://jonnybaker.blogs.com/ runs something on his blogsite called ‘worship tricks’. The title in itself is ironic: they are neither glitzy or tricky and often tend to use ‘found objects’- the very antithesis of gimmickry. I would say that: give me a bag of tea lights and pebbles and I am happy.
I am aware that I use words a lot. I am from a tradition that can be guilty of taking the Word made flesh and turning it back into a lot of words (I think I nicked that).
I made these on Sunday:-
The passage was Luke 14:25-33. A really difficult passage. If you just read it you don’t always get it…it can come across as just words.
I wondered what that would be like to pray…rather than using lots of words in prayer. So the 2 groups of people I was with made these and thought about 3 areas of their lives that were really important, could even become ‘gods’. They twisted 3 pipe cleaners to form a long strand and then formed them into a cross. We then said a short responsive prayer (nicked from somewhere else)
You could take them home, to look at, as a reminder to keep praying. I think I may have borrowed the idea.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I thought it was better than long prayers about making life cross shaped.
Right now, I find image, silence, creating and background music a whole lot more helpful than loud music and exhortation.
People came: lots of them, more than I’d hoped or expected and some of the most suprising people. There was community: laughter, chatter and lots of food.
After a week of dodgy weather forecasts and an early downpour, the skies brightened and the sun blazed.
Loads of people pitched in: spontaneously. I loved the 6 year old that decided to sell drawings that he made ‘For the church’ and gave me 25p.
I am so tired: people stayed longer than I expected, but so excited by something greater than I intended. But still I am unwilling to use the word ‘success’ (which speaks so much of our effort and glory) and I want to use the phrase that good ole John Wesley used: ‘If thou art constrained to bless the instrument, give God the glory’…ie ‘Just be thankful that you were used and were blessed’
I am truly thankful….I love days like this.
Once a month I lead something that we do in the village hall here: it is called the Sunday Breakfast. It is called that as it involves breakfast and it meets on a Sunday (you did ask). It is a kind of church for people who don’t really do church.
Sunday was a celebration of us being 4 years old. It has it’s ups and it’s downs and I always view it as an experiment. Sometimes I see it as something that could develop further, other times merely an all age service on other premises and still other think ‘how much life has it got left?’ (part of that is due to….and I can’t put it better than this- ecumenical hostility and the insistance of my host congregation wanting their own morning service at 10.30….. I have been involved in doing stuff like this now for around 7 years- it is risky and prone to faltering. Established church’s tendency to see this as ‘outreach’ usually means: ‘oh yes, great, but we have to have our service as well’).
Most times I pray to be taken away- not because I don’t like it (I love it more than ‘proper’ church) but because I’m never quite sure how many (if any) will turn up; I find this nerve wracking. In lots of ways ‘proper church’ is easier.
On Sunday (it meets c 9.15 ish- 10) I had nothing to dash off to at 10.30 so I got the children to sit in one area and eat jelly and ice cream (I was bought up in the 70s- parties are not parties without jelly and ice cream) whilst I had a chat with the adults. Got loads of ideas- open to an evening once a month in the pub to talk about following Jesus/finding out more- occasional Saturdays instead of Sundays focussed around food and celebration- sometimes splitting in the same room so adults can hear some adult stuff- parties and prayers on the beach. Plus I got to hang around in the play area afterwards and talk to people including those who don’t come but want to know more.
I’m excited and wondering where to go. Quote from a 10 year old who wandered into the meeting: ‘we like this- you get to move around and do stuff: in church you just sit there and someone talks at you’. Perhaps I should take that into the next ecumenical meeting which often seems to my jaundiced view to be focussed too much on inner church stuff and pleasing each other….