So, they were all wonderfully patient with my wild ideas. Fun too to work alongside Nerys in the planning and in the liturgical juggling.
Tricky moment when all three people in the sanctuary nearly gave way to giggling during the eucharistic prayer at ‘from chaos bringing order’, but there are worse things that can go wrong than too much laughter.
I have promised them a nice calm service next week, but it is good to know that anything is possible.
Update: no, they weren’t just decorations… Some notes on the service below.
Part 1: bait
Before we can talk about God, or reach out to others, we need to be able to name what is good: to remember the things that first drew us to faith in the first place, to remember all those little sparkly bits that first caught our attention and made us excited about God.
so, I shared some stories of my own (being excited by the possibilities of life opening up, by the sense of their being ‘something more’, by the people I met who cared about their relationship with God), and then invited the congregation to spend the first part of the service remembering what drew them in. We wrote words, names, phrases on the bait, and these were gathered up after the Gloria, and then strung up over the font by the children as the service progressed.
part 2: water
That first flush of excitement in faith is all well and good — but if we’re going to spend a life time with God, through all the ups and downs, we need to learn what sustains us. Maintaining the fishy theme, we talked about this in terms of ‘the water that sustains us’ — from baptism on.
Again, I offered some examples of my own (friends, the rhythms of the liturgical year, quiet prayer…) and asked the congregation to write down something that helps them sustain faith. Their words got pinned along the rivers that ran down either side of the nave.
Part 3: fish
Pentecost was a time for realising that the story the disciples were learning to tell about God — the story that they had to learn to tell in light of the resurrection — was a whole lot bigger than they realised. It was a story not just for them, or for their friends, but for all who were outside the walls: who suddenly heard the disciples speak in their own language.
So, it’s a time for learning to speak the language that others need to hear.
Thus Casting the Net….
So, it was time to name our fish: at the time of intercessions, while our pianist and violinist led us in prayer, we named some of the people and situations in the world that we hoped could know more of God’s love and healing.
We gathered up the fish and blessed them at the offertory. Then the Young Church put them up on the wall around the pulpit.
The Eucharistic Prayer was deliberately calmer — apart from the giggling, of course.