Thursday, April 10, 2008

1 + 1 + 1 = ?

Fact 1: In the rush to the airport last Saturday, to catch a flight back to my home in Christchurch, my overnite bag was left in a friends car in Auckland. It included my alarm clock.

Fact 2: While waiting for the bag to be returned, I decided to use the alarm on my cell phone.

Fact 3: I received a text on my cell phone while at a gathering on Wednesday night. To avoid disturbing the gathering, I simply turned down the sound on my cell phone.

Fact 4: Needing to rise at 5:30 am today to catch a plane to Wellington to speak …

I missed my flight. Ahhhh. First time ever. My cell phone alarm went off, but of course, because the sound was off, I was not wake.

Until 6:20 am, by which time the flight was boarding. Ahhhh.

Thankfully, in the strangeness of life, Air New Zealand had a flight at 10:30 am at a Smart Saver rate for only $82.

A few phone calls.
A run.
A relaxed breakfast.
A bit of email.
A cup of coffee after arriving early at the airport,
and I had a most excellent afternoon with about 50 church leaders. A highlight was meeting Jono. Jono emailed me out of the blue last August, as follows:
Hi Steve,

Have been following your blog along now for about 2 years and have a question for you. No pressure! 🙂

I am doing a contemplative service and at one of the stations (using the beatitudes) I am trying to show righteousness in a creative way and am struggling. The ideas I have either limit the idea of righteousness too much or just seem a bit cliche. So, the question, have you ever tried to display righteousness and how did you do it?

Thanks Steve, any ideas will be appreciated.

To which I replied: Hi Jono,

random thoughts
– right living – cut out great big foot prints, each with a different word ie work, family, environment, relationships, economics — have half leading toward the cross and half away – get people to name habits that are right living and habits that are bad living.
– or you name the habits and people walk away from (bad living) cross in confession and toward the cross (right living) in intercession.
– another idea – put the footprints on a Twister Board – get people to spin it – place themselves on what is spun – and pray for themselves for that area of their life for 60 seconds.

my understanding is that righteousness is Greek dikaios – which translates in English as justice and rightousness, which opens up the scope beyond pietism.

any help?

So it was great to meet Jono face to face and for him to affirm that in New Zealand, Baptist gatherings like Sharpening the Middle are quite inspirational for Presbyterians. (Note that Jono’s story does not mean that I will provide free worship consultancy to any and all punters who email me! It was simply that in the grace of God, Jono caught me in a creative moment :))

Posted by steve at 10:45 PM


  1. Missing planes can be a real God send – last year I was on the first flight out of Nelson to a meeting in New Plymouht only I arrived at the airport to see the plane take off. Hacked off with my self I drove home, got home and got the most painful stomach cramp followed by an explosive case of …. well i don’t need to say any more only that, I am glad i had missed the plane if not then I would have been heaving up my stomach somewhere over Wellington.
    Not that this has anything to do with creativity in worship.

    God Bless

    Comment by Michael — April 11, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  2. And to finish the story … We set up the hall like we were at a bonfire. Put yellow and red lights in the middle of the hall shining upwards to the roof and cushions on the floor around the indoor bonfire. These were also around the communion table, which were two low coffee tables and after visiting each of the stations on the beatitudes people came back to the circle around the communion table and we shared communion together.
    We used your idea of the twister board and it worked really well. People were inspired to pray for right living in the areas of their families, jobs and relationships.
    Thanks again Steve, Jono

    Comment by Jono — April 15, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

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