Thursday 24 December 2020 at 11.30pm
Worship – a fresh look?
Continuing our list of fourteen possible worship activities, here are some practical considerations that may be useful …
- Bible reading
This is something anyone can do, in fact this is something everyone should do. Rather than the odd verse slipped in twix’d song and notices perhaps a whole chunk of Scripture should be read out, or even a Bible reading marathon that dominates the whole service, with everyone contributing from their seats, to help those of a more introverted nature (a travelling microphone may be needed). It would also help, just for this exercise, if they all read from the same Bible translation. It’s all about community, not personal preference and the words will flow an awful lot better.
Perhaps one day you decide, as a congregation, to read through a complete Gospel in one go. What a blessing that could be. This could be one of those occasions when non-believing friends can be invited, as an outreach. They can even take part, to be included in the enterprise. The raw power of God’s word, how good can that be?!
Orthodox Jews are very noisy in prayer, as any trip to the Western Wall in Jerusalem will indicate. Although much of this is ostentation, stillness is definitely not a pre-requisite in our communication with God. Hands together, eyes closed, head down could equally be out of your seat, eyes open and off you go.
Prayer walks can put you in touch with God’s Creation through all five senses as you pour out your heart. It doesn’t need to be a formula, or single-file prayers, it can be a noisy disordered mess. From God’s perspective, all He wants is real engagement and, in the context of a communal prayer initiative, I don’t think He minds if He has to listen to a whole load of voices at the same time. Prayer surely is His initiative and what’s wrong with a bit of excitement and emotion anyway (speaking hypocritically as someone who develops a zip-fastener over his mouth during open prayer!)?
Here’s a thought. A huge goldfish bowl filled with water on a table in a corner of the room. This is the confessionbowl. Next to it are some pencils and special packs of paper. This is paper that dissolves in water. You know the rest.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:2)
Interestingly, you can buy a product on Amazon called Walk with Jesus dissolving paper. Yes, it’s already been thought of. Goldfish bowls available at all good pet shops.
Regular public confession of sins has fallen out of practice or has descended into dry ritual. This speaks of us, not God. I’m sure He wants us to unburden ourselves regularly. Perhaps the confessionbowl can be a permanent fixture for people to visit whenever they wish?
There are more ham actors lurking unseen in congregations than we could ever realise. There must be ways found to use their giftings. Perhaps a short mime as a sermon illustration? Perhaps a Bible reading in character? As with dancing, perhaps there can be some training from an expert team, to empower those with untamed talent and give them some direction?
- Creative Arts
Here’s an idea. A flip chart on view, loaded with paper. As a service progresses, if God is speaking then a story will be gradually unfolding. Perhaps someone can sit by this flip chart and map out this journey as it happens. With words, or pictures, or charts, whatever. Alternatively the congregation can be supplied with post-it notes with a system put into place where thoughts and ideas can be scribbled down and carried over to the flip chart and arranged in sequence. At the end of the service a nominated person (it doesn’t have to be the ‘leader’) can try and relate the story of the service. Or it can be teased out in debate? This sheet can be left on display until the following service, as a reminder of what God said the previous week, as it might be an ongoing story?
Perhaps there are creative members of the congregation who express themselves in other ways? A table could be provided at the back with crayons or art equipment because some people have been given great talent at expressing God’s thoughts in such a way. I have seen this happen. The finished work can then be explained at the end of the service, or just left displayed for people to consider.
Continued next week …
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp