By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

- Page 5

  • Trinity Sunday Communion Liturgy

    Becuase my brain is still largely in post-Pentcost mush, I decided to crib a communion liturgy rather than writing my own this week.  I wanted something that felt intune with the relational, hospitable, missional view of Trinity I want to try to explore.  In the Baptist brick (Gathering for Worship, an excellent resource just way too big for a handbag let alone a pocket) is a liturgy for 'table fellowship' which I liked but felt was not quite right for my congregation.  I like the words, I like the participative style, but I'm not a big fan of being presented with large chunks of unseen prose to read, so I wasn't about to inflict it on other people, especially as many of them are quite vociferous in their dislike of printed liturgy.  So, in the end I adapted it for three voices, simply because in my congregation it is me plus two deacons up front.  Maybe we can manage something just a tad Rublevian (if there is such a word?) with the congregation taking the role of the unseen fourth person?

    Anyway, for those who don't have access to Gathering for Worship, here is my adaptation - I hope that I'm not breahcing copyright too badly, and the orignal version is onpages 43 to 45 of said book.  I have tried to mark adaptations in a different colour but may have missed a few - mainly they are changes from first person singular to plural and for more overtly trinitarian (rather than binitarian!) scriptures..

    Voice 1

    The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. (2 Cor 13:14, Message)  
    Voice 2

    We are invited to come together around this table as those who belong to the household of Christ, brothers and sisters who in our baptized lives live out the death and resurrection of Jesus, a renewed community of faith, who inhabit a universe of grace.  


    Voice 3

    Remembering the death and resurrection of the one who is our life and our meaning, we come first to relinquish all that is loveless and death dealing in our lives. Jesus commands us to love God with all our heart and soul, mind and strength.

    Voice 1

    Brothers and sisters, we have not kept this commandment.  We must forgive our own and each other’s godlessness, and pray that God will light the fire of such love in our hearts.  


    Voice 2

    Jesus commands us to love our neighbours in the same way that we love ourselves.  

    Voice 3

    Brothers and sisters, we have been selfish, hard-hearted and mean spirited, and have failed to practice openhearted hospitality.  We must forgive ourselves and each other, and pray that God’s grace will melt and warm our hearts.  


    Voice 1

    Scripture reminds us “you have been purified from sin; you have been dedicated to God; you have been put right with God by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:11b, GNB)  


    As forgiven people, as a restored community, we recall the story of the first Lord’s Supper…                                                                      (Luke 22: 14 – 20 GNB)

    Voice 2 When the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table with the apostles.  
    Voice 3 I have wanted so much to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer!  For I tell you, I will never eat it until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God.  
    Voice 1 Then Jesus took a cup and gave thanks to God  
    Voice 3 Take this and share it among yourselves. I tell you that from now on I will not drink this wine until the Kingdom of God comes.  
    Voice 2 Then he took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, broke it, and gave it to them  
    Voice 3 This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.  
    Voice 1 In the same way, he gave them the cup after the supper  
    Voice 3

    This cup is God's new covenant sealed with my blood, which is poured out for you.  



    Voice 2 Let us pray: Before Jesus broke the bread, before he poured the wine, he gave thanks to you, Lord God, King of the universe, giver of every good thing, of food and drink, of community, companionship and love, of all that gives us strength and delight. Like him we bless you for your generosity and hospitality.  
    Voice 3 Breaking the bread, Jesus spoke about the destruction of his own body, the result of human cruelty, indifference and envy.  Remembering his courage and integrity, his willingness to die for the grace he proclaimed, we bless you for our redemption, won at such cost.  
    Voice 1

    Sharing the bread, Jesus promises to be with us always, and we acknowledge and delight in his presence here now. We bless you for his Spirit binding us together in a new and hope-filled humanity.   Fill us again, Lord, and empower us to live together in the peace and truth of the gospel.  Amen.  


    The bread is broken and shared, and then the wine is shared with everyone serving one another.  


    Voice 1 We turn to the days ahead: Go with us Lord, so that we can love in all sincerity, loathing what is evil and clinging to what is good.  
    Voice 2 We will be devoted to one another as brothers and sisters, honouring each other above ourselves; we will be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.   We will share with God’s people who are in need and practise hospitality.  
    Voice 3 With your help we will bless those who persecute us, blessing and not cursing.   We will not repay evil for evil.  We will not be overcome by evil, but by the power of your spirit we will overcome evil with good.  
    Voice 1 Go with us good Lord and live in us the life of the Kingdom.   The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of us. Amen.


  • Even more things they didn't teach you at vicar school...

    Most churches, a good number of manses, maybe more pertinently the plots on which they sit, are not registered by the land registry.  Historically this is because such plots of land rarely changed hands.  Nowadays as redundant and dead plots are sold off for redevelopment, this is inceasingly problematic and sites have to be registered by 2013.  But because we are about to sell ours, we have to register it now!  Thankfully the lovely people at EMBA Trust Company are on the case and offer us loads of help and support to say nothing of a great deal financially.  The catch is that you have to provide you own sketch maps of every plot of land you own - so witness one minister walking along with a clip board noting down all the house numbers opposite our graveyard (which also has to be registered) and guessing where the garden fences go when she couldn't see over the walls.

    I don't think my tech. drawing teacher would have been overly impressed by my sketches but at least my printing was pretty close to BS5750/ISO9001 or whatever it is these days!


  • Trinity Sunday

    This year for the first time ever I am preaching on Trinity Sunday.  It has tended to be one I take off because the big outreach events of Pentecost leave me fit for not a lot and as it is usually nearer June than May it's a good weekend to have off - apart from avoiding the perils of preaching it!

    Thinking back over more than 30 years of regular church going, most years of which I have been in church on Trinity Sunday I have never, ever heard anyone preach on the Trinity - not in a Baptist church, a Methodist church, a URC, C of E or even RC - and I've been in all of these at least once on said Sunday.

    So it is proving a good challenge beginning, albeit later than usual, to think about hymns and songs to accompany some of the lectionary readings to to ponder how I might get my good people to begin to engage a little with the concept.

    I am contemplating beginning by asking them for the metaphors and analogies they know of (and dreading the inevitable answers) and then seeing if they actually know that the doctrine is not explicitly in the Bible (shock, horror!).  Not that there aren't threefold references in the Bible, before anyone accuses me of total heresy, but the neat tidy concept itself just isn't there.  I might well them go on to use Rublev's famous icon and Mattisse's dance to tease around some ideas of community/relationship and even playfulness within the Godhead.  Whether I survive after showing images of naked 'ladies' on a Sunday remains to be seen!  After all, even my middle aged knees are a bit too risque for some of my congregation...

    In the meantime I'm trying to find some more inspiring than 'Holy, holy. holy,' 'Father we love you' and 'Father we adore you' by way of explicitly trinitarian hymns and songs.


    PS the worst ever metaphor for the Trinity I have encountered is...'the trinity is like a trifle, there are three layers but one pudding'  Aaaaaaaargh!

  • Pentecost Part Two - The Celebration

    Thank goodness for the shaded seating area in the primary school playground!  It was a scorching afternoon for our open air service and it was good to have a total of about 50 people including two who are not church-goers (we had three visitors, one from our lunch club and a couple who live on our patch where one belongs to a very strict church and the other goes nowhere - we were it seems the safe enough space for him to go, hurrah!).

    It was a good afternoon, people enjoyed themselves and entered into the spirit of the various activities.  From 'Jubilate everybody', to 'Come down, oh love divine', via 'There's a spirit in the air' to 'You shall go out with joy' I think we catered for most tastes.  We had drama, we had bubbles, we had talks, we had a response and we had full blown intercessions.  Then we shared tea and biscuits indoors before everyone went home happy.

    We might not have spoken in languages of people or of angels, we might not have seen thousands added to our number, but we celebrated something of the oneness we have as Christians inspired by the Spirit of a holy and life-giving God.

    Next stop... in six weeks time we have our 'Big Summer Sing' - a tea and service for our lunch club folk to come along to. Ideally it'll be out of doors and hopefully followed by a strawberry tea... watch this space!

  • Pentecost Part One - The Party

    OK, so it was technically Pentecost Eve, but who's counting?

    Wow, what a wonderful day we had and if the numbers attending were lower then we might have dreamed of, they were still excellent and people really appreciated the free and almost free afternoon for all the family.  A good number of folk from our Lunch Club came along, some children from our Games Club and lots of little ones I know by sight from being a school governor... as well as a load of folk I'd never seen before.  EXCELLENT!

    At 9 a.m. we began the process of transforming the school field into an all age 'playground', erecting the gazebos and tents that would house attractions.  Methodist Derek and I got it down to a fine art with our best time at under 5 minutes from opening the box and pegging in place.  Kathryn and I had fun building the giant Connect 4 game - which came with no instructions but within ten minutes it was ready for action.

    "We shall not, we shall not be sued..." As I walked round with all the disclaimer signs for the car park, bouncy castle and school adventure play equipment, I was told I looked like I was setting off for a protest march.  It is a sad state of affairs when you have to erect such notices - but we had a school and three congregations to consider as well as those who would come along for a fun afternoon.  In a mischievous moment we did wonder if we ought to add a note to say we'd do a special offer on funerals for anyone who killed themselves, but decided it might not be appropriate!  Thankfully the afternoon passed off with no injuries at all, so maybe my singing as I walked around planting signs was prophetic?!

    At 1:30 the party began and we had a steady stream of people from then on.  I painted faces continuously for three hours and was the last stall to finish bang on 4:30 when we closed.  The pocket money stall selling junk left over from past events did a steady trade and made about £20 selling stuff for as little as 5p a go.  Decorating pots and potting plants went well with 40 people having a go - and the remaining plants sold of at 4:15 to raise another £10 or so.  Kiddies crafts produced a veritable gardenful of bees, butterflies, caterpillars and ladybirds - and the children who had made them were delighted to show them off to anyone who'd look.  The £30 raised will go to support the work of our local children's hospice.

    For those a little older, the Fairtrade stall took over £100, several had a go at card making and pretty well everyone enjoyed a free cream tea.

    At 4:30 we packed away giant jenga, badminton, a model railway display, a collection of historical photographs... and a whole heap of leftovers that found their way back to my house 'for next time.'  By soon after 5:30 there was nothing left to suggest we'd been there - except the bunting on the school fence which I have to remove today. 

    This afternoon with more blazing sunshine we will praising God al fresco - and hoping that maybe a few folk from yesterday will come and join us.  Having spent the morning washing paint brushes, sorting out left over items and discovering under the junk that I do have a kitchen floor (I will get my dining room back sometime during the week!) I have had some time to reflect on the wonder that the small team we have who are willing to work on these events have once again done such an amazing job.  About 25 people in total were involved in making it happen - and we probably saw 200 guests.  FANTASTIC!

    And there was even a minor miracle.... the Methodist minister bought me an ice-cream (with sauce and nuts, it came in a plastic tub with a spoon) at about 3p.m.  When I finally stopped painting faces at 4:30 and had a chance to eat it, it had not melted - unlike my black face paint which had degenerated into a right sticky mess.

    I guess I'd like to think that the whole event could be both a gift to our community and an offering to God.  May the works of our arms and legs, the laughter from our mouths and the love from our hearts be acceptable to you, our Rock and our Redeemer.