The last Psalms service, with its reflections on Psalms 40 and 96 was well attended, despite the imminent Bank Holiday, and even drew two of those rare phenomena in preaching - compliments. Granted, one was simply to say that someone had (sic) 'heared every word for once' but it was nice to get some thanks - and somehow it was in keeping with the theme of 'new hope' and 'future hope.'
Early in the service I tried getting the congregation to recall what the last two weeks had focussed on. I'm just glad there is no OFST-preach as their failure to recall anything about the pslams of orientation was so spectacular I would hve been put into special measures immediately! With a bit of prompting we managed to get some recollection of the disorientation themes from last week, so maybe it was just unfair to expect anyone to recall 14 days ago, even with a recap 7 days ago. Ho hum.
The one real compliment, was that someone had found the service to be 'just what she needed' because she had been feeling rather low and needed to get a glimpse of hope to help her hang on in there. I am glad that at least someone felt she had benefited from my endeavours.
The Holiday Club celebration service, which took place 2 hours later, was a very different affair. Most of the children and their parents came along and there was a reasonable turn out from the four churches involved. It was a decidedly zany affair but people joined in - not sure St S&B has seen any kind of dancing in the aisles before, never mind the 'Pyramid Rock' hand jive! And as for playing musical statues or using an inflatable crocodile in worship... Towards the end of the service we created a prayer collage, when people were invited to write or draw a prayer topic on a 'pyamid' (triangle of paper) and glue it to the picture. Most people joined in, and looking at the prayers afterwards was really quite a moving experience - prayers for parents mingled with prayers for Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and Afghanistan; thanks for fun alongisde prayers for peace; a picture of a cat next to a prayer for a childless couple. Many of those who came along were not regular church attenders but most joined in this act of prayer. I think that people had a good time, the children sang their socks off and were thrilled with their prizes; but above all of this there was new hope and future hope as people of different Christian traditions and none entered into something that expressed our eschatological hope in Christ Jesus.
All then shall dwell in his glorious light
Races long severed His love shall unite
Justice and truth from His sceptre shall spring
Wrong shall be ended when Jesus is King.
So we sang at the end of the 'normal' service, and so we prayed in pictures at the Holiday Club. If we can live this reorientation then maybe we indeed 'hasten the dawn of the day, when this new song God's creation shall sing, evil is vanquished and Jesus is King'