Thursday, April 13, 2006

thursday friends

Each day of this Easter week, at the start of the Easter Journey, we have run simple church services; fifteen minutes to pray, read Scripture and offer some sort of symbolic engagement with what Jesus is doing each day of this Easter week. We roster them out among the staff team. The aims are to:
– help us as a church community live inside the Scriptural journey to Easter
– utilise the great environments that are a gift of the Easter Journey
– provide a bit of a buzz as the Easter Journey kicked off each evening.

The downsides are that these are the most random services I have ever done. Church every day is totally new terrain for Baptists. You have no idea who will turn up, nor whether you will have 1 or 20.

Tonight (Thursday) was a classic. As I prepared and thought about what Jesus did on the Thursday, a number of themes presented themselves
: the place of Judas, apt given the hype around the Gospel of Judas
: foot-washing and servanthood
: communion
: the human struggle to answer the call to prayer

In the end I went with a theme of friendship. It is my eldest daughter’s birthday today and at 8 am the phone rang, one of her friends, wishing her happy birthday. It’s really sweet to see your daughter being loved by her friends.

So I decided to tell this story of friendship and then invite people to thank God for their friends. Then use that “emotional exegesis” to help us enter into a 5 voice reading that re-told portions of Thursday night. And thus to consider how the friends of Jesus treated him.

At 7:02 pm it is start time and I look with stunned mullet amazement around those gathered. First time I’ve seen children at these. Oh my goodness. Thirteen children and five adults. Yep. Child/adult ratio WAY out of wack. One family is new and probably totally unchurched.

Friendship suddenly makes this a very appropriate service for 13 children and 5 adults. We sing happy birthday to my oldest. We go round the room and all name our friends. We listen to adults and kids read the Scriptures. We ask God to help us be good friends to Jesus.

Thirteen kids then race into the Easter Journey and I collapse exhausted, thankful that in the mercy of God I did not go with an adult intellectual discourse on Judas, a solemn foot washing or an exhortation to stay up late to pray with Jesus!

Posted by steve at 09:39 PM

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