Sunday, November 29, 2009
advent blessings creative prayer stations
Updated: based on the interest in this post, I’ve added another post with four more creative advent ideas, this time more do at home, type stations.
We kicked off Advent at Opawa today. Someone noted how much work is involved. “Too right,” is my response. It’s like adding a tablecloth, some flowers and mood music to an everyday meal. It draws attention to the church seasons and gives distinctive shape to the church year. It’s an essential spiritual practice to the Christmas consumerist frenzy.
This year we are tracing Incarnational themes through four church blessings/benedictions. The hope is also to add some content to what we hear regularly as church services end, plus ensure a real God focus as I conclude my ministry at Opawa.
Alongside the first Advent banner (which looks stunning against the black background curtains), three “blessing” stations were presented. Physically, they are marked with black wooden stands, draped in cloth. They will be with us for the weeks of Advent, with the “blessing” texts changed each week.
Scriptural prayer: (Spark from here) Consider the words from Numbers 6:24-27. What strikes you? What questions would you like to ask the writer? In the white space, around the words, write or draw your comments and questions.
Intercession bowl: Write or draw the names of people and places you want to see blessed this Christmas. Place them in the bowl.
Fridge magnet prayers: (Spark from here) The Bible is written in Hebrew and Greek. As words are translated, they take on different shades of meaning. This provides an opportunity for prayer and reflection. First, consider words of similar meaning.
(spread on table — lord/protector/saviour/redeemer/provider/the/and/you/us/his/her/with/in/be/bless/benedict/kiss/impart/watch/guard/keep/strengthen/sustain/protect/shine/glow/highlight/enlighten/illuminate/magnify/reflect/gracious/kind/merciful/give favour/hug/lift up/hold/extend/face/peace/shalom/tranquility/whole of life)
Second, arrange the words into your prayer of blessing. When you are satisfied with your work, write your prayer in the Advent journal. Please note that by writing out your prayer, we are asking your permission to display it publicly, perhaps on the church website or projected at a service or in an outside art installation.
So here are three of the “fridge magnet” blessings. I think they’re great. I’d love to be able to have this projected into our outer building walls.
Redeemer, wholeness of my life, illuminate your will and love
Provider, sustain me through life, provide me with your blessings
Protector, be gracious to me, be merciful
Saviour, show me your peace. Shalom.
The Lord give you his favour with the whole-of-life-shalom
The Lord bless you
Face to face. Amen
For Ill and old people; Merciful protector
Watch in the whole of life
- Advent journals here
- Lots more Advent resources here.
- Mark Pierson describes his Advent work here. It’s great work. He uses art, which we have tried at Opawa, but found it difficult to get traction around – the juggle with copyright, with how to mix art and the preaching, with finding people to introduce art and because of the creative energy that goes out of the church due to the Christmas Journey.