Thursday, April 30, 2015

Divine tracker: a reflection on Psalm 23

On Sunday I attended church at Port Augusta Congress. It was the conclusion of Walking on Country and it was good to end in worship with indigenous sisters and borthers. At the start of the service, the congregation was informed that I would be preaching. This was news to me, but I had been part of a discussion of the Lectionary text on the 4 hour drive from the Gammon Ranges (Adnyamathanha country) to Port Augusta, so I had been doing some processing.

What I wanted to do was
- expose the cultural lens we bring to Scripture (New Zealand sheep stories)
- name what we had heard as part of Walking on Country (the pastoralists)
- make sure that indigenous cultures had the “last word” (the story of Great Uncle Alf and the link to God the tracker)

Here is (my recollection) of what I said.

Today our Bible reading is Psalm 23:1 – “The Lord is my shepherd”.

At the start of the week, I heard these words from Scripture as a New Zealander. I come from a country with 40 million sheep and 4 million people. The shepherd stands behind the sheep. The shepherd has dogs, that bark and chase the sheep. So “The Lord is my shepherd” has a certain meaning. A God who chases me, with dogs.

On Friday and Saturday, I heard these words differently. As I visited the Northern Flinders, I heard of the arrival from overseas of pastoralists. They were shepherds. They fenced off the land. They stopped indigenous people from walking across their land. They hoarded the water holes. At times they poisoned them, to ensure water went to their sheep, not the indigenous inhabitants of the land that had been taken. On Friday and Saturday, I became ashamed to consider how these acts of shepherding might be linked to the Lord as shepherd.

On Sunday, as I was driving with Aunty Denise down to be with you here this morning, she told a story. It was about her Great Uncle Alf. He left his country here in the Flinders Ranges and settled down at Penola. He was a very skilled tracker. So skilled, he was employed by the Police to find lost people. When children got lost, it was Great Uncle Alf who time and again found them. Great Uncle Alf was so skilled, so valued, that after he died, the Police honoured him with a ceremony.

Great Uncle Alf, the tracker of lost children, gives me another way to understand “The Lord is my shepherd.” At times I am lost. I am cut off from God and far from my community. So I need God to track me. To do what seems difficult, near impossible, and find me.

So as we now move to communion, I invite us to consider together what it means to be found by God. “The Lord is my shepherd”; God is my tracker.

Posted by steve at 07:01 PM

Monday, April 27, 2015

Accepted – “Inhabiting our neighbourhoods: Plot by plot, plant by plant”

News today that my chapter on community gardens in urban spaces has been accepted for publication. It was written for the launch of “Inhabiting Our Neighbourhoods”: a flagship publication of Urban Seed’s new Urban Studies Centre and was a proposal for a contemporary urban missiology for community mission.

The editors commented: “We really enjoyed this piece. One of us said, “The more I read the more fascinated I became, and I’m not into gardening!””

Here’s the abstract for the chapter, which I’ve provisionally titled Inhabiting our neighbourhoods: Plot by plot, plant by plant

Gardens offer rich insight regarding how we inhabit our neighbourhood. These include opening ourselves to the stranger’s gift, the slow, seasonal work of prayer-as-composting and celebrating life together.

This chapter begins by bringing the development patterns of two inner-city Australian community gardens into dialogue with Scripture, including Luke 10:1-12 and 1 Corinthians 3:6-9. Stranger’s gifts emerge when we act in ways that enable our community to be neighbours, both good and diverse.

These insights are enriched by consideration of two movies. Gardening with Soul is the story of an urban missionary who turned the lawn of her religious community into a community garden. Grow your Own is the story of a stranger’s gift that grows healing among a well-established British allotment garden.

The argument, from case study, Scripture and film, is that gardens provide rich insight, in practices, processes, patterns and postures, regarding how we might inhabit our neighbourhoods.

It should be out in the middle of the year.

The only major suggestion for change is to make the structure a little more like a garden. This involves making a little more room for wildness, less linear logic and more ripe vegetables and fistfuls of herbs! Which was how I presented the spoken paper, but in writing, sought to conform to a more academic style, so I will gladly conform!

I was one of very few academics present and I’m delighted to be able to add some missiology reflection into what was a gritty, community-engaged conference. It’s also the first time some of my monthly published film reviews (which now number nearly 100) have been woven into a publication, along with what is a personal hobby. So it all feels nicely integrated. It also brings to six the number of pieces of work written in 2014 that will now be published. A good year indeed!

Posted by steve at 01:06 PM

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Place-based theology

On Friday I sat listening to a PhD thesis being read. I was outdoors. The sky was cloudless and I was 8 hours drive away from the Uniting College classrooms at 34 Lipsett Terrace.

outdoors I was part of Walking on Country, an experience we offer at Uniting College, in order to ensure our candidates have an immersion experience in indigenous cultures.

But this year we worked to ensure the experience could also double as Towards Reconciliation, a unit in the Bachelors programmes we offer (as part of either the Flinders Bachelor of Theology or Adelaide College of Divinity Bachelor of Ministry). Hence a PhD thesis being read in the outdoors, under blue sky, rather than in the classroom, seated around desks and screens.

The research we were hearing was work done by Tracey Spencer on the history of Christian mission in South Australia. It is brilliant work – exhaustive, incisive and original in offering a post-colonial perspective on mission today. I’ve used it in my own work on indigenous communion practices (in Colonial Contexts and Postcolonial Theologies: Storyweaving in the Asia-Pacific (Postcolonialism and Religions)). And it was being engaged at the exact spot were the mission was enacted. .

It struck me as an example of place-based education. The term developed in the 1990′s and is used to describe learning that is rooted in what is local—the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place.

Place-based is not context-based. Context based seeks to learn within a student’s existing work context. The focus is delivery in situ, which is meant to enhance application and integration. Place-based affirms the local, not the local of the learner, but the local around particular place.

Walking on country from steve taylor on Vimeo.

Place-based theology meant that over the four days we visited place after place. We heard the stories. We walked the land in which the actions had happened. We discussed. We imagined we were one of the people we were hearing about, and then considered the implications for Gospel and culture, for tradition and innovation. Surrounded by reading and assessment, by being place-based, a very different education experience emerged.

As I drove home, I wonder what else in Christian theology could be place based?

Posted by steve at 10:25 PM

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Walking on Country 2015: educating the whole church

Walking on Country was one of the changes I worked through College as I began as Principal in 2012.

Now in it’s third year, it is envisioned to be a 3/4 day immersive, educational and spiritual experience of Indigenous culture, history, politics and contemporary lifestyle. It began focused on candidates. It has grown, and now includes a variety of ministry agents of the UCA, plus students of the ‘Towards Reconciliation’ Flinders University topic. As I said to someone today, we as a College are playing a role in educating the whole church, not only the candidate part of the church.

The aims are:
1. For participants to learn about the cultural, historical and contemporary life of an Indigenous community
2. For participants to explore ‘decolonisation’ of their colonised thinking and relationships,
3. For participants to develop conceptual, emotional and spiritual foundations for covenanting and friendships with Indigenous communities and the UAICC
4. For participants to commit to a journey of reconciliation with Indigenous Australians, and to the vision for Covenanting in the uniting Church.

This year we walk on Adnyamathanha country in the Flinders Ranges, and explore the dimensions of the Nguthunanga Mai Ambatana – The Lost Children story at Damper Hill. The program consists of preparatory reading, the immersion experience, and some form of post-trip action to continue to relationships begun with Indigenous people.

There are 19 people going. Even more exciting, I’m one of them, taking my turn as a faculty representative. And personally, saying my farewells to the Flinders Ranges, a part of Australia that I love.

Posted by steve at 05:25 AM

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New appointment Lecturer Pastoral Care at Uniting College

Uniting College and Adelaide College of Divinity are pleased to announce the appointment of Rev Kerry Pierce as the new Lecturer in Pastoral Care.

New Lecturer- Kerry Pierce As an ordained minister in the Uniting Church Australia, Kerry has served in placements at West End Uniting and has been a chaplain at Queensland University of Technology, working with ecumenical and interfaith teams.

Mrs Pierce also has experience with Lifeline as a counseling supervisor and trainer and as a tutor at Central Queensland University. She has held membership in the Australian Psychology Society since 1996.

Mrs Pierce is due to complete her Doctor of Ministry through Wesley Theological Seminary Washington DC in May, 2015. Her research has applied the apostle Paul’s cruciform spirituality to adaptive leadership and resource poor congregations.

Her research aligns with the vision of Uniting College to exist to develop life-long disciples for a healthy, missional church, who are passionate, Christ centered, highly skilled mission-orientated practitioners.

Mrs Pierce commented that for her, the process of call included a sense of assurance “that God had a purpose for my ministry in the college.” She will commence in July, teaching Caring Practices of the Church in Semester 2 and working to develop a new range of topics for 2016.

Posted by steve at 06:52 PM

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Situations vacant: Executive Officer (Adelaide College of Divinity)

Adelaide College of Divinity (ACD) is an ecumenical body uniquely placed to generate intellectual, public and ecumenical conversations. It is seeking a dynamic Executive Officer with skills in providing strategic direction, establishing strategic partnerships, and general administration including compliance with relevant legislation. Further details are outlined in the advertisement and Position Description & Person Specification on the ACD website or Uniting Church SA website here. This is a full time position. (0.8FTE would be considered)

Please forward applications addressing the selection criteria to kaye.robertsthomson@adelaide.edu.au by no later than May 11, 2015.

Posted by steve at 06:46 PM

Sunday, April 19, 2015

thin places

A delightful weekend away in what for me is a bit of thin place. I love the quiet solitude and rich abundance of the Clare Valley. Back in 2008, as my 10 week time as Visiting Scholar at what was then Parkin-Wesley College ended, I took three days of spiritual retreat. I headed for the Clare Valley and walked parts of the Riesling Trail. I contemplated ten life questions, over ten hours between ten different wineries.

Movement and outdoors help me connect with God and the time was a rich time of renewal and reflection. The images of wine-making – of seasons of growing, of the celebration in harvesting, the press-ing complexity of wine-making, the hospitality of wine-tasting – provided a rich set of metaphors by which I considered my unfolding sense of call. (For more, see The Spirituality of Wine). I realised more clearly what gave me joy.

I wondered if I would have the courage to keep saying yes to the journey of leadership that God was calling me into. At the time, this has no precise shape. But within a year, I would be called to be the inaugural Director of Missiology, at Uniting College. Then, two years later, to be Principal.

It was fascinating to return this weekend, some seven years later. Amid the autumn leaves, I considered the seasonal changes I am now experiencing.

Clareleaves

I am in the last months of a summer of rich harvest as Principal, Uniting College for Leadership and Theology. I am six months away from another season, as Principal of Knox College for Ministry and Leadership, (yes with a much colder Winter clime!).

It was a joy to be back in the place that was so rich seven years ago. It was rich to re-engage the metaphors. As one season ends and another begins, will I say yes to areas of growth that I’ve been keen to skip over? Such are the joys, yet challenges, of growth. Such are the blessings of thin places, as we encounter and re-encounter the God who speaks.

Posted by steve at 08:11 PM

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chappie: a theological film review

Monthly I publish a film review for Touchstone (the New Zealand Methodist magazine). Stretching back to 2005, some 90 plus films later, here is the review for April 2015, of Chappie.

Chappie

Bullying is soul destroying. It corrodes confidence, shredding the individual of self-worth. Yet a scene of bullying is instrumental in the success of Chappie.

Chappie, like other films directed by Neill Blomkamp, including Alive in Joburg (2005) and District 9 (2009), is set in South Africa. Similarly, Chappie like District 9, Elysium (2013) and the upcoming Alien project, sees Blomkamp continuing to explore the interplay between human and alien.

In Chappie we are plunged into a future in which crime is soaring. In a city out of control, the South African Police send in robots, equipped to detect and disarm.

As Chappie begins, there is little to love in each of the main characters. Deon (Dev Patel), scientific conceiver of robots, is a workaholic geek. Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman), a work colleague, is the disgruntled loner, determined to build a meaner, more military robotic option. Ninja and Yolandi (named after themselves) are gangsters, needing millions of dollars to pay off a drugs deal gone bad. Chappie is a Police robot, number 22, repeatedly damaged by his encounters the likes of Ninja and Yolinda.

This means that Blomkamp has some major directorial work to do. He has to help us, the audience, find emotional connections with at least one of his unlikeable main characters.

Blomkamp’s answer is bullying. Ninja and Yolandi capture Dion who, in exchange for his life, agrees to load the damaged robot number 22 with artificial intelligence. It generates a classic ethical dilemma, a confrontation between good and evil.

Dion as the robot’s maker expects number 22, now named Chappie, to refuse to commit crime. Ninja, as the gangster, works to enlist Chappie in order to repay his drugs debts. Thus Chappie finds himself exposed to the real world, where he will be stoned by a group of boys and tortured by Vincent Moore.

It is these scenes of bullying that allow the audience to connect with a robot. It is an astonishing piece of storytelling. Chappie, a robot becomes a loveable main character. Through pain, a piece of metal gains our affection.

In doing so Blomkamp ushers in a wide range of theological themes, including identity, faith and hope. Watching Chappie with a church group would open up significant discussions about the Christian understanding of being human. The downloading of consciousness to create a new body opens up ways to explore the Christian understanding of the resurrection of the dead. The conversation in which Chappie asks Deon why he built him to die offers a rich introduction to Christian notions of freewill in a created creation.

Despite Blomkamp’s feats of storytelling and the resultant feast of theological themes, Chappie comes with significant plot holes. The movie unsettles as it wobbles uneasily between comedy and pathos. The genre of comedy works because it amplifies (for more see the brilliant Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art). What Blomkamp chooses to amplify leaves the viewer caught. Watching Chappie a robot, being stoned is as funny as it as disturbing. But then perhaps that is actually how bullying starts, as what begins as fun for one ushers in pain for another.

Rev Dr Steve Taylor is Principal at the Uniting College for Leadership and Theology, Adelaide. He is the author of The Out of Bounds Church?: Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change, (Zondervan, 2005) and writes widely in areas of theology and popular culture, including regularly at www.emergentkiwi.org.nz.

Posted by steve at 11:16 PM

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

witnesses of a wounded church: sermon on Luke 24 (Easter 3)

A sermon I preached among our candidates and Faculty. The Biblical text was Luke 24:36b-48 (Easter 3) and I have been reflecting on being Christian in a country with such a tragic historical relationship with indigenous peoples.

On Saturday, I was offered front row seats at the episcopal ordination of Chris McLeod as Assistant Bishop with special responsibility for ministry alongside Aboriginal people in South Australia. It was amazing to drive down King William Road at 9 am on Saturday morning and to see Bishops from all over Australia and New Zealand all dressed up.

ordination outside st peters

And behind them to see clouds of smoke from an indigenous Kaurna smoking ceremony, billowing above their heads. I wondering if St Peters Cathedral was on fire for a minute.

Chris is the first ever Aboriginal Bishop in South Australia; and the 3rd ever in Australia. Chris is one of my PhD students, hence my ability to secure a front row seating. Closer to the action even that all the Clergy, including Peter, Vicky’s husband.

ordination Chris McLeod

The ordination made major news, with footage on Channel 7 on Saturday night and in the Sunday Times yesterday. When interviewed by channel 7, the sound bite they grabbed was of Chris saying he hoped to a Bishop of healing. It struck me as a rich way to understand our Bible text, the Gospel reading for Easter 3; Sunday April 19. In particular the last words from the reading, from verse 48 – you are witnesses of these things.

I’m a missiologist, so when the word witness pops up in the Bible text, I pay particular attention. When I’m working with church groups I often suggest that “witness” is a better word for us to use than “evangelism.” Witnesses simply pass on what they experience. In court the task of an eyewitness is to report what you see. No hearsay, no interpretation, no guesses at motives or the big picture. Simply be a witness.

For most church groups, this is encouragement. And challenge. Encouragement, because there’s a simplicity when evangelism becomes report what you see. You don’t need to know everything. You don’t need to be skilled at apologetics. You don’t need to know all the story. You don’t even need to have done Heritage and Polity or Church, Ministry Sacraments. So that’s an encouragement. We’re to be witnesses. It’s as simple and as honest as report what you see.

But alongside the encouragement, there’s also challenge. Do you have a faith story that’s active enough to witness to? Can you share of healing. Or are you stuck nursing your resentment and pain, polishing it for revenge? For a mainline church like the Uniting, when at times being a church member has been linked to social status, the invitation to be a witness becomes a particular challenge.

I love the way that “witness” in this Bible text is so framed by experience. The disciples are startled and terrified in v. 37. Those are pretty honest words to keep in your story of witness. Jesus responses with “Touch me and see” (v. 39). That’s a pretty experiential approach to being a witness. And by eating fish in v. 43. That’s a very practical response to being risen.

I love that these honest and experiential and practical details are included, presumably as an example of what being a witness will actually look like. It will involve telling the honest and experiential and practical details. Which helps me make sense of the ordination of Chris. He hopes to be a Bishop of healing. For Chris to do that there’ll need to be remembering. And a grieving. You see, Chris’s mother and grandmother are stolen generation.

And so Chris can’t tell his story without telling their story. And in so doing, telling the story of a church, who contributed to their pain. That’s what will need to happen as Chris sets out to be a witness to healing.

I’ve been reading Australian Catholic theologian, Nieil Ormerod’s lastest book, Re-Visioning the Church: An Experiment in Systematic-Historical Ecclesiology. Neil looks at the church through history. He divides history up into eras and every Era he gives a name. And the name he gives to this era, the era we’re all in together, is the Era of the Wounded Church.

And it’s in this Era of the Wounded Church that you and I are called to be a witness. It’s in the era of woundednes that you are seeking to exercise ordained ministry in the Uniting Church.

Which means, taking into account the Ordination on Saturday, our witness must to include our woundedness, the woundedness of the church. That’s the only way for our story to have the human and experiential and practical details which are so clearly part of being a witness here in the Luke 24. Being startled and terrified. Touch my wound, and see.

Neil Ormerod (Re-Visioning the Church: An Experiment in Systematic-Historical Ecclesiology) talks about the defensiveness that has emerged within the Catholic church as it is wounded. But also about the creativity that’s also been part of the church’s story, how the church has transformed itself through history. And by how the strongest transformation’s have occurred when mission has been the integrating principle.

So the church in the Era of woundedness can chose to be a defensive witness. Or an honest, truthtelling, finding creative transformation in mission witness. You are witnesses of these things.

The Uniting Church recently agreed to a new Preamble to its Constitution. Which begins, As the Church believes God guided it into union so it believes that God is calling it to continually seek a renewal of its life as a community of First Peoples and of Second Peoples from many lands.

Continually seek a renewal.

After the ordination on Saturday, I got talking to a Uniting Church colleague. And he said that he and his mob really hoped this is ordination was not just symbolic. That it would actually lead to real change.

And we could ask the same about the Preamble. How is it practically, continually renewing our witness. As a College. As individuals. Because every one of us who lives in Australia, we are witnesses of these things.

Posted by steve at 07:49 PM

Sunday, April 12, 2015

picnic rugs, being church and mission planning

I’ve been sitting for the last few days with Faith Ringgold’s art. Titled Church Picnic Story Quilt, 1988, it is tie-dyed and printed fabrics; acrylic on cotton canvas. It tells the often bittersweet history of daily life in Black America from a personal and feminist perspective, combining traditions of storytelling and quilt-making in her painted “story quilts.” Because of copyright, I’ll simply provide a link.

It is a visual resource suggested by Imaging the Word: An Arts and Lectionary Resource, the fabulous visual lectionary resource. It is suggested to accompany the lectionary reading – Acts 4:32-37.

It strikes me as a helpful way to think about being church on mission. The quilt is about a church picnic, of Freedom Baptist Church. It’s outdoors and that’s always a more public space for a church. The picnic involves various families on rugs. They’ve got their food spread out on the rugs and I like to think that’s a gesture of sharing. Each rug, and each of the dishes on the rugs, is distinctive and I like to think that each family is bringing something unique, a food that they especially enjoy and especially enjoy preparing. There are children running around and I like to think they are acting as ice-breakers, providing a way to ease into relationships and create connections across rugs.

It got me thinking about appreciative enquiry, (Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Change) and how it emerges so easily from this art image.

- What is your dish? In other words, what are the unique gifts of your community you would like to share? What efforts would you make to ensure you give time to offering that unique dishes?

- What are the public spaces in which you need to spread your rug? In other words, where, outside your building, and in what community, are you spreading your rug? What do you value about that space?

- Who, in your community, are the children, the people that create connections? What efforts could you put into nourishing those strengths?

I would suggest that with about 30 minutes in groups working on these questions, a church would have found some rich material for their mission planning. They would have established their strengths, the strengths of their context and how they might go about connecting their strengths with the strengths of their community.

Such is the gift of an art piece of a picnic rig and some well chosen questions.

Posted by steve at 10:43 PM

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Trinity as two processions in mission: a post-colonial proposal for evaluating ecclesial life

A precis of some reading, thinking, writing and chatting (with anyone I think might even be vaguely interested in listening).

How to evaluate the mission life of a church? Popular measures include numerical, economic (can we afford a minister and building) and romantic (the good old days). This paper will explore the measures that emerge when the Trinity is understood as one God, three Persons and two processions in mission. It will seek to develop the work of Bernard Lonergan, in conversation with Neil Ormerod. It will analyse their understandings, including paying particular attention to the understandings of Spirit and mission embedded in the Uniting Church Preamble. This provides a post-colonial voice in the development of a proposal for a post-colonial missional ecclesiology. Four markers will be identified and tested on a case study: the author’s empirical research into fresh expressions of the church ten years on.

Which I get to present, Monday, 4 May, Uniting College for Leadership and Theology Research hour, 4-5 pm.

Posted by steve at 10:45 AM

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Doctorate in the Practices of Monastic Spirituality

Congratulations to Gary Stuckey, with news last week that his doctoral thesis has gained examiners approval and he will graduate Doctor Gary in May. I’ve been working with Gary for the last four years on his Doctor of Ministry. It was a fascinating project that mixed having a go, critical reflection and deep reading in the Christian tradition.

Essentially Gary tried to plant a fresh expression of monastic spirituality. He used a short course approach, offering a year long training in monastic spirituality. At the same time, in order to rigourously test his practice, he sought to measure participant’s spiritual experience, at the start, middle and end.

His thesis reflects on his learnings, all the while reading deeply from across the centuries in how monastic patterns were developed and how they sought to form faith. At the same time, Gary becomes increasingly dis-enchanted with what he considers the historical rootlessness of much of what currently trades as new monasticism.

Finding Your Inner Monk: Development, Presentation and Assessment of the Effectiveness of a Program Introducing the Practices of Monastic Spirituality

With a growing interest in monastic spirituality, Gary Stuckey developed and presented a program introducing participants to historic monastic spirituality and its contemporary significance, and spiritual practices drawn from the Benedictine tradition. His thesis assessed the effectiveness of the program in enhancing participant’s spiritual experience as measured by the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale. The project also identified each participant’s spirituality type with a view to determining whether or not it was people with a more contemplative nature who were attracted to and benefited from the program. Gary found that the program did help enrich people’s spiritual experience. The resource material presented, the learning of and reflecting on spiritual practices, and discussion with other participants were major factors in the outcome. While most participants were of a contemplative type, not all were. Those who were not generally benefited from the program, opening the possibility of its wider application in the future.

It was a fascinating and multi-faceted project to supervise, by a creative, dedicated and hard-working person.

Posted by steve at 12:32 PM

Thursday, April 02, 2015

The use of Godly play and colour in entering Easter week

At chapel this week, I wanted to offer participants a way to enter Easter week. Our staff and students come from a wide range of churches, and it’s important those places provide the story of Easter Friday and Sunday.

So how to point folk toward Easter, without preemptively telling the story?

So I dragged two resources out of my creativity box.

First, my Holy week in colour resource. I made this last year, for an Easter youth camp. It involves a colour for each day of the week. It provides a useful memory aid to get folk into the story.

colouringholyweek

  • Green on Palm Sunday, to remember those who waved palms and celebrated Jesus entering a city.
  • Red on Monday, because on Monday (in Mark’s gospel), Jesus got angry, red-faced, in the temple.
  • Brown on Tuesday, to recall Jesus words that unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it can not produce many seeds.
  • Lavender on Wednesday, to remember perfume, and the extravagant, expensive love of an unnamed woman, who poured what was possibly her family hierloom onto Jesus head.
  • Blue on Thursday, to express the feelings of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, a soul deeply distressed, troubled, overwhelmed.
  • Black on Friday, for on this day God died.
  • Grey on Saturday, for on this day all of creation mourned.
  • Gold leaf, etched with rainbow colours on the Sunday, for on this day life to the full in the here and now was re-defined.
  • As a result, on Monday, I have cut two pathways of response into my board, for on Monday, the events of this week leave us with some choices. How then will we live, in light of the events of this week.

Second, a sort of Godly play experience that I wrote for an all-age service a few years ago.  It involves a symbol for each day of the week. The symbols are placed around the building and people invited to find and bring them.

Third, I wove communion into the worship. By the time people had brought bread and wine, by the time I had told the story of Easter Thursday eve, it just seemed so natural to celebrate together.

For those interested, here is my full script. (more…)

Posted by steve at 06:24 PM