Monday, July 04, 2005

Down at the Beach

Sometimes we have a service and I think "This one should be preserved so other people can see it". This service was one of those services. The bible texts for the day were Matthew 11:25-30 and Psalm 145:8-15. This is what we did.....

Theme: The Beach (learning to rest and recharge)

(before the service we sent a mail to our discussion group letting people know so they could dress for the beach if they wanted to get into the mood)

Environment: pictures of picnic food and slides of sea and sand on the front wall of the church.

The communion table was a folding table (not unfolded so it was 2 inches high) and covered in a celtic cross rug that looked like a picnic rug. Set with goblets and plates (which were plastic picnic ones, but nice ones) A big beach umbrella and deckchair were placed just in front of this and towels and inflatables also surrounded it (we had an inflatable globe, a fairtrade inflatable banana and an inflatable hammer as well as a li-lo). Then there was a circle of beanbags to flop out on and the back row was of chairs (it would have been nice to have these as deckchairs as well but we never got that far.) Then we pointed a large floodlight at the beach umbrella and deckchair so it looked nice and sunny. A paddling pool was set up on a stage area at the front.

The visiting priest who celebrated communion also came dressed for the occasion, equipped with shades, sandals and hawaian shirt.

The left wall had video on it (which changed accoding to what was going on)
some elements were stressful city stuff, hawaian hula dancing, baptism imagery during the absolution,
lots of different communion imagery during communion, doves during the peace etc etc)
Also there were TVs at the front which had an aquarium going on them throughout the service.

As people came in the following text was up on the wall (from the message translation of the matthew passage)
“Are you tired? Worn out?
Burned out on religion?
Come to me.
Get away and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me. Work with me.
Watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live
freely and lightly” (Jesus Christ)

The first song was our remix of Dear Lord and Father... which has words about getting rid of stress etc.
Then we had a confession. (ambient music was played constantly throughout the service even behind the prayers and was mostly Ibiza Cafe del mar stuff this week)
All: Father God,
Forgive us when we forget to rest,
To recharge,
When we become human-doings,
Not human beings,
When we forget to stop and ask
If all our rushing round
is really what you want.
Wash us now, forgive us,
And invite us to your party
Where refreshments never end.

(come to the pool if you wish
and wash your hands or dip them
asking God to cleanse and refresh you now)

priest: May God,
Who created the sabbath rest
To give us a flavour
Of what Heaven is like
Forgive you and me, and give you
Refreshment and space
To stop and re-charge.

Then we had the Matthew reading from the NRSV translation.

All: I believe in God.
Who created our cosmos
Then stood back and blessed it
And saw it was good.

I believe in Christ
Who died to redeem it
When our race had vandalised
Our world and our lives.

I believe in the Spirit
Who gives life to the weary
And hope to the broken
And love to the lost.

Then we had the same Matthew reading from the Message.

I then gave a short talk about rest and recharging, including a story about a fisherman
and a capitalist by Mike Riddell and some thoughts from St Aelred about loving each other
being the task Jesus gives us that is easy and light. Then we had a chance to think over the following
questions up on slide. People could discuss if they wished, or simply write some ideas down on
multi-coloured flower-shaped bits of paper which we blu-tacked onto our freestanding
blackboard lighthouse "shrine" (as seen at Greenbelt)

What sort of things re-charge you spiritually?
What types of prayer?
What kind of rest?

Think about the things that drain you.
Then think about the opposite of those things.

While all that was happening Malcolm played "this is the time of our lives by Paul Van Dyk"

Then we had a song which was the psalm for the day
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious" by Grace.
We sung a few extra choruses live and spoke the verses so the end effect was something like this....

psalm 145

All (sing): The Lord is compassionate
and gracious (X3)
Slow to anger, abounding in love.

The Lord is compassionate
and gracious (X4)
Leader: God is compassionate
And gracious.
Slow to anger, abounding in love
Yahweh is loving to everyone
Everything he does is surrounded
by grace.
All: All your works praise You, O God.
All your faithful servants adore You.
They talk of the glories of Your rule.
They speak of Your mighty power.

All (sing): The Lord is compassionate
and gracious (X3)
Slow to anger, abounding in love.
Leader: To make known to all peoples
Your amazing acts.
And the glorious splendour of Your kingdom.
Your Kingdom is an everlasting nation-state
Your presidency lasts throughout all ages.

All: Our God is sure in all his words
He keeps His manifesto pledges.
Yahweh picks up all those who fall
And lifts up those bowed-down.

All (sing): The Lord is compassionate
and gracious (X3)
Slow to anger, abounding in love.
Leader: The eyes of all wait on You, O God.
You give them their food in due season.
You open up wide Your generous hand
And fill all things living with plenty.

All (sing): The Lord is compassionate
and gracious (X3)
Slow to anger, abounding in love.

The prayers for the evening (as the G8 summit was going on) were
"Beach-volleyball Prayer for the world".
(the usual rules applied which wer if someone didn't want to do it that was fine.
just to pass the globe onwards) we also moved the bread and wine out of the way
for this section of the service in case of spillage!)

instructions: Look for a country.
Say its name aloud
(or pray a prayer for it aloud if you wish)
All add “Amen”.
Throw the globe gently to someone else.

at end:
All: Accept these prayers
For the sake of your Son,
Our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Behind the communion liturgy (which I won't bother printing in full) we played "one perfect sunrise" by Orbital.
Here is a section of the prayer though.

"Father, we thank You
For all the gifts you’ve given us.
For the unforced rhythms of your grace
For times of work and times of play.
For this bread
And for this wine,
Fruits of Your creation
Yet eaten and drunk in the presence
Of those who hunger and thirst.
We remember now, in awe
And gratitude
That You sent your Son to live with us,
Laugh with us, weep with us, teach us,
And then die for us.
Opening up the door to Heaven...."

After the distibution (communion was passed around the circle)
we sang this song....

I rest this night with God
And God will rest with me.
I rest this night with Christ
And Christ will rest with me.
I rest this night with the Spirit
And the Spirit will rest with me.
God and Christ and the Spirit
Be lying down with me.

then prayer this prayer...
All: Thank you
For feeding us
With your body and blood,
And giving us
The time and space to sit at your feet.
Now send us out,
Refreshed and renewed
To live and work for You,
And to rest in Your arms.

Then finished the service by singing "Tower of Strength" by the Mission

You raise me up
When I'm on the floor
You see me through
When I'm lonely and scared and I'm feeling true
To the written word
And you;re true to me but still I need more
it would tear me apart
To feel noone ever cared for me
You are a tower of strength to me.

priest: May God
Lead you to still waters
Of rest and refreshment
And the blessing of God
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Be with you and remain with you always.
All: Amen.