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- Page 6

  • No lectern, no limits...

    I've always been one of those preachers who has stood behind the lectern, it gives me somewhere to put my script, and somewhere to 'hide' on the days when I am especially nearvous or apprehensive about what I am about to share.

    A couple of months ago, the lectern at the hotel disappeared, and we discovered had been thrown out.  For a few weeks I used a music stand from home, which somehow or other disappeared without trace.  And then I just decided to hold my papers in my hand.

    And it's been fine.  I haven't suddenly morphed into one of those preachers who paces the platform (not least as there is no platform) but I have managed just fine holding my notes in my hand (I've only dropped them once!  Because I'm a bean counter, the pages are numbered, so no significant harm done).

    Combined with the different style of the summer services, it's also given me 'permission' to be a bit more experimental, making greater use of visual, video or musical inputs, as well as leaving space and quiet for private reflection and response.  Not things I've never done before, but perhaps greater confidence in employing them more often.

    I am actually quite happy to place my notes on the end of the (communion) table and pick them up as and when needed - and my lovely congregation are accommodating the more 'creative' stuff with their usual grace and generosity.

  • Suspended coffee...

    Today I had to go into town, so I took the opportunity to pop into my favourite social enterprise cafe for lunch.

    As I walked in, I overheard a customer who was leaving complaining about the rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people who receive free lunches there: they're here every day, he observed, and they never pay a penny...

    I sat down at the one available table, which happened to be next to where two such men were eating their lunch - a bowl of soup, a hunk of bread and then hot drink in a take away cup as they left.  They were just like any other customers, quietly chatting, enjoying their lunch and a brief shelter from the rain.  They were polite, and they exchanged banter with the staff.  They left to go wherever they were going...

    My steaming bowl of delicious soup arrived, accompanied by a cheese and caramelised onion scone, and I began munching...

    Within a couple of minutes their place was taken by four antipodeans on a walking holiday, whose biggest concerns were whether or not they needed to buy midge nets in September (I mean, it was only bucketing with rain, no self respecting midge would be out in that weather!) and what the wifi code was for the cafe.  They ordered their lunch, which arrived just as I was leaving...

    As always, the wait time to pay is the longest part of coming to this cafe - getting food out is clearly a higher priority than getting paid!  And, as usual, I paid for a suspended hot drink (sometimes I pay for a meal) and went on my way...

    So what?

    I love that one minute I was sitting next to two men who had almost nothing, and the next people with sufficient wealth to take a holiday on the other side of the world.  I love that the staff were as polite and gracious to the grumbler as they were to the men, and no less than they were to myself or the tourists.  I love that this cafe does something vital (essential and life-giving) for whoever walks in off the street.  I love that whoever you are, you get simple food 'done right'.  I love that this is the gospel in deeds.  And so what if someone gets more free food than someone else deems fair; and yes, I'll go on suspending hot drinks when I go in there because what I cannot do, they do do.

  • In the Beginning - A Communion Liturgy

    Today we began our Creation Time/Creationtide series 'Animal, Vegetable & Mineral'.  This was the Communion liturgy we used...

     

    Preface

    In the beginning was a seed,

    And the seed was buried in the rich, dark earth

    And the seed grew…

     

    In the beginning was the stalk,

    And the stalk brought forth the golden, heavy ear

    And the seed was in the ear…

     

    In the beginning was the seed,

    And the seed was spread between cool, heavy stones

    And the flour was ground…

     

    ~

     

    In the beginning was another seed,

    And that seed was buried in the rich, dark earth

    And that seed also grew…

     

    In the beginning was the vine,

    And vine brought forth the dark, weighty cluster

    And the grape was in the cluster…

     

    In the beginning was the grape,

    And the grape was crushed until its skin ran dry

    And the juice was collected

     

    ~

     

    In the beginning, someone took the flour and made a loaf of bread

    In the beginning, someone crushed the grapes to make a skin of wine

    And all was made ready for the banquet of hope…

     

    In the beginning, in the gathering, in the breaking, in the sharing, in the scattering…

    In it all, God is here.

     

    The Story

    Here is bread, and here is wine, and here we meet to share.  But why?  How did it begin?

     

    In the beginning, God’s Creative Word lived among us in a Jewish man called Jesus, who called his closest followers together to share in a Passover meal.

     

    And in during meal, God’s living Word became a man’s spoken word, carefully recorded for all of history…

     

    Taking the loaf, and giving thanks, Jesus said, “this is my body, which is for you, whenever you do this, remember me.”

     

    Taking the cup of wine, and giving thanks, Jesus said, ‘this is my blood, poured out for you, whenever you do this, remember me.’

     

    And so here we begin again –

    We hear the words of Jesus,

    We listen for the Word of God,

    We participate in the remembrance of Christ

     

    Thanksgiving

    Creator of all that is good and beautiful, we thank you for this bread and for this wine, for those who grew the crops, gathered the harvest, baked the bread and bottled the wine.  Help us as we share and as we remember to find sustenance for our souls.  Amen.

     

    Distribution

     

    Prayer afterwards

    In the end, all things will be re-created

    In the end, all will be well

    Until then, we entrust ourselves, and our creation to God’s safekeeping

    Amen.